The Dialogue of Solomon and Marcolf


1 rude, coarse.

1.2 th’este, the east; vysage, appearance.

2.2 frouncys, creases; erys , ears; myddys , middle.

2.3 yes , eyes; nether, lower.

2.6 ovyrmoche chorlysh and rude , extremely countrified and rough.

2.7 hasyn, hose (long stockings).

3.1 thystelys, thistles.

3.2 wynde, twisted; brostelys, bristles; erys, ears; renning yen, running eyes.

3.3 of span brode, of the breadth of a hand with fingers spread; broche of leed, brooch or pin of lead.

3.4 yren, iron.

3.5 nosethrylles, nostrils.

3.8 behovyth to shewe, should avoid (eschew); yes, eyes; that, that which.

4.1a lynage, lineage (ancestry).

4.1b kynrede and genleagie, kindred and genealogy.

4.2a that is to wete, namely; gate, begat; genderyd, engendered (begat).

4.2b chorlys, churls (common men or peasants).

4.2c that is to knowe, namely.

4.3a clatre, chatter; altercacion, argument, formal disputation.

4.4a reaume, realm.

4.5a light, immoral; forlaye, suffocated by lying on.

4.5b Were erys are, Where there are ears; causes, points at issue.

4.6a yave, gave.

4.7a fleyth, flees.

4.7b kydde, kid (young goat or deer); rennyth, runs; ars, arse (hindquarters).

4.9b that clene is browyn, that which is brewed in cleanliness; fayre drinken, drink well.

4.10a ferdefull, reverent.

4.10b flayne, flayed (skinned).

4.11a shamefast, modest; mekyll, greatly.

4.13b larger in yevyng, more generous in giving.

4.15b chaf, infertile husks of grain.

4.16b behovyth to be allweye, should always be; fedyth, feeds; ther it growyth, there [his fodder] grows; etyth oon gres, eats one blade of grass; ayen, again; it fattyth, [the soil] grows richer.

4.17a preyse, praise.

4.18a ony, honey.

4.18b That beys dryve, Those who drive (tend) bees.

4.19b youre ye, your eye.

4.20a spurne, kick; prykyl, goad.

4.21a lerne, teach.

4.22b his, its.

4.23b yate, gate.

4.24a yeven, given; feryd, feared.

4.24b wonte, accustomed; asse, ass (the pack animal).

4.25b vultier, vulture.

4.26a unwythyngly, unwittingly (unknowingly).

4.26b As, When; ars, arse; ellys, else.

4.27b By wyt he etyth that gretyth the ether, By his wits he eats who greets another person.

4.28b reson, fitting; bren, bran.

4.30b yevyth bred, gives bread; manys, man’s.

4.31a dureyth not, does not endure (persist).

4.34a radissh rotys, radish roots; mete, food; counsell, council.

4.35b lesyth, loses; shetyth, shoots [an arrow].

4.36a erys, ears.

4.36b lesyth, loses (wastes).

4.37b than ben, then are.

4.38b is brostyn, is ruptured (has hernias).

4.39b metys, food; ordeyned, intended.

4.42a That the wycked feyrth, What the wicked man fears; fallyth, befalls.

4.43a brede, bread; wolde hym yeve, would give [it] to him.

4.44a maystre, (school)master; wele wylled, well disposed.

4.44b Th’andys, The hands.

4.45a janglers, gossips (chatterers).

4.46a othre, one another.

4.46b lesyth, lose (waste).

4.47a I shal yeve thee, I will give [it] to you [then]; that thou maiste forthwyth yeve hym, what you can give him right away.

4.47b wherwyth, resources; withalle, immediately.

4.48a holdyth, remembers (holds to).

4.50b pore, poor man; ne breed, no bread.

4.51b heryth, hears; oke, oak.

4.52a beyth, is; shrewdly, wicked.

4.52b forthynke, regret.

4.53a ne nor.

4.55b owsell, ouzel (a bird); synge not oon songe, do not sing the same song.

4.56a deye, die.

4.57a indicte, compose or write.

4.57b shytyth, shits; berkyth, barks.

4.58a wombe, belly.

4.59a yifte that is yeven thee of, gift that is given to you by.

4.59b geldyd, castrated; yevyth, gives.

4.62a demaundyd, questioned.

4.63a chesyth, chooses.

4.63b sekyth, seeks; gnappyth othre, snaps at the other [with its teeth].

4.65a skapyth, escapes.

4.66a Ware, Beware; do it not ayen, do not return it [the evil].

4.68b in a bande, on a leash.

4.70b eythre, either; tere, tear (v.).

4.71a th’erte, the heart.

4.71b wombe, belly; th’ars trompyth, the arsehole trumpets.

4.75a Nede, Need (Necessity).

4.75b eythre he byteth or shytyth, either he bites or shits.

4.76b yeve, give.

4.77a mete, food.

4.78b wakyth, stays awake; no wolle shyte, shit no wool.

4.79b bere a sadylle, bear a saddle.

4.80a reighte, right (correct).

4.82b torde, turd; wyth theyre fete trede, tread with their feet; bestyalle wyves, bestial wives.

4.84b hegge, hedge.

4.86b al oon songe, the same song.

4.87b fryseth, freezes; byndeth, binds.

4.88a counsell, consultation; forthinke, regret.

4.88b seke, sick.

4.89b ‘Now daye; tomorwe daye,’ probably, ‘If not today, then tomorrow’ (see explanatory note); that the hare chacyd, that chased the hare.

4.90b leve my clapping, stop my chattering.

4.91b yeve me that, give me what.

5.2 herefore, on this account.

5.3 worst yen, miserable eyes.

5.4 berys, bears.

5.5 Wherfor, Why.

5.6 provostes, administrators; that is to wyte, namely.

5.8 Why dryve ye hym not out wyth stavys of his syghte?, Why don’t you drive him from the king’s presence with sticks?

5.9 Tho, Then; yeve, give.

5.10 Tho, Then.

6.2 thidrewardes, in that direction; dorre bowe, door frame.

6.5 “What menyst thou therwithall?” “What do you mean by all that?”

6.6 declyned, bent down.

6.9 benys, beans.

6.11 makyth of oon harme two, makes two harms out of one.

6.12 that, that which.

6.13 wythoute, outside; sleyth, slays.

6.14 bewepyth, beweeps; aforetyme, earlier.

6.15 “What betokenth they?” “What do those things mean?”

6.17 yes, eyes; deying, dying.

6.18 lowsyth, delouses [himself]; sleyth, slays.

6.19 tastyng, caressing; japyng, joking or flirting.

6.20 travayllyth, suffers the discomfort of pregnancy.

7.3 onys, once; expedyent, useful for his purpose.

7.4 feyre, fire; yave, gave.

7.5 kechin, kitchen; through moysted, soaked; th’erte, the heart.

7.7 Gabaa, the biblical city of Gibeon.

7.8 reputyth, acknowledges.

7.9 yevyn, given.

7.10 woll, wills; reynyth it, it rains.

8.1 withoute, outside.

8.3 of the same cowe be coveryd, be covered [by a product] of the same cow.

8.5 puyssant, powerful.

8.6 dede to hir, gave to her.

8.7 flawne, flan.

8.9 drye bakyn cowe torde, dry baked cow turd.

8.10 unnethe cowde, scarcely could.

8.16 flawne, flan.

8.17 hungyr chaungyd wyt, hunger changed [my] strategem (enhanced [my] cleverness).

8.19 wyste wele, knew well; mete, food; the flawne wyth mylke anoynted, the flan glazed with milk.

8.20 wyth wyt chungyd, substituted by wit (cleverness).

9.1 wake, stay awake; no truste tomorne of thy hede, no expectation in the morning of [retaining] your head.

9.2 rowte, snore.

9.4 joyntys, joints; chyne, chine (backbone).

9.7 pye,in magpie.

9.8 But, Unless.

9.9 rowte, snore; blowe, breathe heavily.

9.10 th’erthe, the earth; clerer, clearer (i.e., brighter).

9.15 Anon aftyr as, As soon as; blowe, breathe heavily.

9.16 goth afore lernyng; overrides upbringing or training.

10.1 fayned hymself; pretended to be; hevy, sad.

10.2 threytys, threats.

10.3 pryvely, secretly; th’erte, the heart.

10.4 shewe, reveal.

10.5 leevest, most beloved.

10.6 had levyr dye, would prefer to die; discovre, reveal.

10.7 pryvely, secretly.

11.2 chyne, chine (backbone); nombredyd, counted.

11.3 pye, magpie.

11.6 Tho, Then.

11.7 herefore, on this account; Juge egaly, Judge impartially.

11.8 sprongyn, sprayed.

11.9 tofore, in front of.

12.1 shewyd, stated; hath to name, is named; yeven hyrself to horedam, given herself to whoredom; dishonestyd, dishonored; lynage, lineage (ancestry); parte, share; my fathres good and herytage, my father’s goods and inheritable property.

12.3 ferre, afar.

12.5 vysage, face; yen, eyes.

12.8 That wythstandyng, Nevertheless; dele and parte, divide up and share.

12.10 replete wyth angre and woednesse, full of anger and fury; harlot, rascal.

12.12 dele, portion; jugeth thee clerely therfro, clearly disqualifies you [from inheriting].

12.14 suffre me, allow me; shewe, reveal; or, before; do, cause.

12.15 dyffye, defy.

12.16 fowle facyd knave and rybaulde, foul-faced rascal and scoundrel.

12.21 discoverd, revealed.

12.22 Wherefore, Why; goth before lernyng, overrides training.

12.23 afore or, before.

13.1 pryvely, secretly; quyk myse, live mice.

13.2 wont, accustomed; brennyng kandell, burning candle.

13.3 yave, gave; countenaunce, facial expression; bode stylle syttyng, remained still.

13.4 dede she of, did she in response to; abyde, stay still.

13.5 goth afore lernyng, overrides upbringing or training.

13.7 seke, sick; evyll at ease, ill at ease.

13.8 of Marcolf be quyte, be rid of Marcolf.

14.1 kenel, kennel; ayen, again.

14.2 quyk, live; yede ayen, went again.

14.3 forthwyth, immediately; ayen be, again by.

15.2 tapettys, carpets.

15.3 clateryng, chattering; spytyll, spittle; reche up, retch.

15.4 ballyd, bald; spatyld, spat.

15.7 made it fat, fertilized it; bareyne, barren; it behovyth dunge to be layde, it is necessary to spread dung; corne, grain.

15.10 the manys proffyte, the man’s benefit.

15.13 Forwhy they trowen, Because they believe; turnyng, returning.

15.14 Wherto, Why; rybaulde, scoundrel.

15.15 be it pease in thy vertu, Let peace be in thy strength.

16.1 stryve, quarrel or struggle. 16.2 forlayne hyre chylde slepyng, suffocated her child by lying on it while asleep; levyng, living.

16.3 departe . . . in two pecys, divide in two pieces; yeve eyther of thaym, give each of them.

16.4 all hool lyvyng, whole and alive; his the verraye modyr therof, is the [child’s] true mother.

17.2 effusyon of terys, flow of tears.

17.4 Whyllys, While; th’erte, the heart; oon yie, one eye.

17.5 make countenaunce wyth the vysage, express emotions with the face.

17.6 as theyre myndes renne, i.e., as they choose.

17.8 condicyons, qualities.

17.9 shrewdnessys, wickednesses.

17.10 Wherefore, Why.

17.12 brotyll, morally weak (untrustworthy).

17.13 manys condicyon, the human condition; by delectacioun, as a delightful thing.

17.14 yeven, given.

17.15 woman, i.e., the word woman, L mulier (see explanatory note).

17.17 kaytyf, wretch.

17.20 may kalle wele, may well call; deed, dead; that from women, that from which women.

17.22 forwyth, aids.

17.23 dilectacioun, source of pleasure.

17.24 ynd, end; hevynesses, sorrows.

17.25 grutchyng, complaining.

17.28 albeit that, even though; or, before.

18.1 yeven ayen, returned.

18.2 yevyn me ayen alyve, returned to me alive; ellys, else.

18.3 Tho, Then.

18.5 chargeable, serious.

18.7 th’ouse, the house.

18.9 were, wear.

18.10 ‘Mastres,’ ‘Mistress’ (as a term of respect).

18.11 tweyne, two of them.

18.12 halse, embrace.

18.13 forthynke, regret.

18.15 wythstande, resist; saye ayenst, speak against.

19.1 ayen, again; pryvely, secretly.

19.2 trowyd, believed; shewyd, revealed.

19.4 ovyrwent, overcame.

20.1 axyd, asked.

20.2 ayensayth, speaks against.

20.3 paramours, lovers; wol, desire.

20.6 Moyses, Moses’.

20.7 Wherfor; Wherefore, Why.

20.10 puyssaunt, powerful.

20.12 trowed, believed.

20.13 Tho, Then; sentences, judgments or words of wisdom; ben, are.

20.14 vysages, faces.

21.1 hede, head.

21.2 shrewd, wicked.

21.5 sory vysage, sorrowful face; plage, plague.

21.7 luxuriouse, lustful; yes, eyes.

22.3 subgiettys, subjects.

22.5 Tho, Then; out of alle mesure, without moderation.

22.8 yeve credence to, believe.

22.9 hens, hence; se, see; betwixt the yes, between the eyes.

22.10 Forthwith, Directly.

23.1 here, hear; to th’entent that, so that.

23.2 that ye laye to my charge, of which you accuse me; surmysed, alleged; fayned, invented.

23.4 but, except; froward, evil.

23.6 a parte the lyvyng, an allotted portion in life; forthryth, aids.

23.7 stylle, quiet, peaceable. 23.8 shamefast, modest (virtuous); clymmyng, climbing; condicyons, qualities.

23.10 ovyrfaste fundament, strong foundation; grwnded, grounded.

23.11 sede and kynderede, seed and kindred.

24.1 se hym betwixt the yes, see him between the eyes.

24.2 fyll, fell.

24.3 cyve, sieve; temse, strainer; bere, bear.

24.5 trace, trail; stappys, [foot]steps.

24.6 incontynent, immediately.

24.8 hys vysage from hymwardes, facing away from him; breche, britches; hammes, hams (thighs or backs of the knees); se, see; gere, gear (equipment).

24.11 Wherefore, Why.

24.12 yes, eyes; and, if.

25.1 sore meovyd, annoyed (distressed).

25.2 yeve me leve, give me permission.

25.3 it forcyth not, it does not matter.

25.4 wythoute, outside; Valé of Josaphath, Valley of Jehoshaphat; hylle of Olyvete, Mount of Olives.

25.5 Flome Jordane, River Jordan.

25.7 askapyd, escaped.


Abbreviations: B: Salomon et Marcolfus, ed. Benary; CT: Chaucer, Canterbury Tales; L: Latin; ME: Middle English; MED: Middle English Dictionary; Whiting: Whiting, Proverbs, Sentences, and Pro­verbial Phrases.

Here begynneth. The ME translation includes an incipit or opening summary based on the description of Marcolf in the opening passages of the work proper. Its language may also derive from the lengthy Collationes title (see introduction 6.c). Leeu’s Latin edition bears the title Salomonis et Marcolphi Dyalogus.

1.1 Salomon . . . sate. [B Prol.] 3 Kings 2:12, “And Solomon sat upon the throne of his father David” ["Salomon autem sedit super thronum David patris sui"]. Compare 3 Kings 2:24 and 1 Paralipomenon (1 Chronicles) 29:23.

2.1–3.6 short stature and thykke. [B Prol.] Coarse, animal-like features are conventional in medieval descriptions of peasants (Freedman, Images of the Medieval Peasant, chap. 7). The language applied to Marcolf and his wife can be com­pared, for example, to Chaucer’s description of his stoutly built (“thikke”) and hairy Miller (CT I[A]545–66, at 549). Marcolf has a beard like a goat’s, the Miller like that of a sow or fox. Marcolf’s hair also resembles a goat’s, his face that of an ass. Polycana has eyebrows like the “brostelys of a swyne” (3.2); the Miller’s wart has sprouting hairs like “the brustles of a sowes erys [ears].” The Miller and Polycana have large, flaring noses, the Miller’s with “nosethirles blake . . . and wyde” and Polycana’s with “right great nosethrylles” (3.5).
2.3 L subcominus. [B Prol.] The word is unattested; many manuscripts have subterius [lower].

2.3 fowle. [B Prol.] The ME translator reads fetosam [foul]; the Leeu Latin print has setosam [hairy, bristly.] The confusion of f and s is common in fifteenth-century manucripts and prints.

2.6 his clothys fowle and dyrty. [B Prol.] L pellis [hide; peasant’s cloak]; pannitiosus [tattered, ragged.]

2.7 his hasyn hynge full of wrynkelys. [B Prol.] In classical Latin, caligae are soldiers’ boots, but the plural here seems to mean “stockings, hose.” Ziolkowski (Solomon and Marcolf, p. 113) suggests “patched and repatched” for L repagulatus.

3.3 vysage and skyn. [B Prol.] In Leeu’s Latin print (3.2), Polycana has an "aspectum colubrinum" [face like a snake]. The ME translation omits this comparison.

3.7 thies verses folowyng. [B Prol.] The two elegiac couplets are clear in their misogyny but obscure in meaning. Literally, they mean, “The ill-shapen woman, subjected to the forms of darkness, / With her ugly face passes by without the light of day. / It is a bad thing to grant excessive adornment to an ugly woman, / But let the ugly woman endure her very ugly defect.” Leeu’s Latin print has transit [passes by (or through)]; some manuscripts have transeat [let her pass by], which offers better sense. The ME translator does not translate the two couplets, preferring to supply the gist of their meaning. His language is identical to a Dutch translation of 1501, indicating that the two translations are related (see introduction, 6.c).

3.8 wyf. [B Prol.] ME wyf translates L femina and often means simply “woman.”

4.1a–3b of what lynage . . . xii kyndredes of patryarkes . . . xii kindred of chorlys . . . xii kyndredes of untydy wyves. [B 1a–3b] We follow Benary in numbering this section as part of the proverb contest, although we regard the exchange of genealogies as a separate verbal contest. Solomon’s words at 4.3a suggest that it has served as a kind of preliminary match, qualifying Marcolf for the next round, a long exchange of what are usually called “proverbs” for conven­ience, though they include various types of remarks.

4.2a Ysay. [B 2a] Solomon’s genealogy makes Isai David’s father, as at Ruth 4:17–22; the more familiar genealogies at Matthew 1:1–6 and Luke 3:32 make Jesse his father.

4.2b Rusticus gat Rustam. [B 2b] Marcolf improvises a parodic genealogy that includes derivatives from rusticus [peasant, country person] and forms of his own name. Tarcus may derive from tartarum [wine dregs] and Pharsi could derive from far, a type of grain. See Marini, Il dialogo di Salomone e Marcolfo, p. 140n8; Ziolkowski, Solomon and Marcolf, pp. 116–17.
Marquat gat Marcolphum and that is I. In the Latin text, Solomon’s genealogy ends with the declaration et ego sum Salomon rex [and I am Solomon the king]. Marcolf ends with the parallel declaration et ego sum Marcolphus follus [and I am Marcolf the fool]. Interestingly, the ME translator, both here and at 6.1, omits follus [fool], an epithet that resonates with Marcolf’s many twists on the biblical and proverbial idea that the self-styled “wise man” is in reality the fool, and the self-aware “fool” is the wiser man. See for example 4.6ab, 4.16ab, 4.51ab, 4.64ab, 4.79ab, and esp. 7.1–10, as well as these exchanges in the appendix: B 89ab, B 90ab, B 115ab.

4.2c untydy wyves. [B 2c] The ME translator’s softening of lupicanae [whores] from lupa [she-wolf].

4.3a altercacion. [B 3a] (The ME text reads altercacon.) A formal academic debate. Woodcuts accompanying printed versions of the Dialogue often show the two speakers using their hands to count off debating points, a conventional way of representing academic disputation (Jones, “Marcolf the Trickster,” p. 152). Over the course of the work, the two interlocutors alternate in the roles of master (who initiates and questions) and pupil (who must respond appropri­ately). Solomon first requires that Marcolf recite his genealogy and then declares that Marcolf must “answere” him (4.3a) in the proverb contest. At 6.3–4 Marcolf usurps the role of master or wisdom figure and initiates a third verbal contest, posing riddles that Solomon cannot solve. Solomon then retakes the initiative by posing the “covered by the same cow” riddle at 8.2–3. Solomon also initiates the waking contest at 9.1 by threatening to decapitate Marcolf if he falls asleep, but Marcolf introduces the five propositions for which Solomon then demands proof. Finally, Marcolf initiates the last major verbal contest by implying at 17.28 that he can lead Solomon into self-contradiction by causing him to dispraise women as strongly as he praised them at 17.18–25.
questyons to thee. Echoing God to Job at Job 38:3, “I will ask thee, and answer thou me” ["interrogabo te, et responde mihi"]; see also Job 40:2 and 42:4.

4.3b He that singyth worste. [B 3b] Samuel Singer (Sprichwörter, 1:53) gives ana­logues for the equivalent Latin expression, "Qui male cantat, primo incipiat."

4.4a–4.91b The proverb contest. In this long exchange, Marcolf’s responses in Latin include a number of close verbal parodies of Solomon’s scripture-based pronouncements as they occur in the wisdom books of the Latin Vulgate Bible. Unlike the expressions we usually call proverbs, these made-for-the-occasion Marcolfian verbal parodies would not have circulated in common speech. They might better be called mock-proverbs, though many draw upon traditional ideas that do occur in proverbial form. In Leeu’s Latin text, Marcolf’s responses imitate closely the language of Solomon’s proverbs in these exchanges: 4.13ab, 4.15ab, 4.71ab, 4.72ab, 4.79ab, 4.81–84ab. At least seventeen more exchanges of this type are present in the fullest manuscripts but do not appear in the printed texts: they are included in our appendix as numbered by Benary: B 15ab, B 26ab, B 30–34ab, B 38ab, B 40ab, B 46ab, B 48ab, B 69ab, B 89ab, B 112ab, B 125ab, B 128ab, and B 138ab. The exchanges omitted from the printed texts represent some of the most trans­gressive pairings, many involving scathing scatological parody of scriptural language, substituting “shit” for “wisdom,” for example, or “the arse” for “the Lord.”
While many of Marcolf’s contributions involve close verbal parody of Solomon’s biblical proverbs in Latin, others of Marcolf’s replies are indeed recognizable proverbs that enjoyed wide circulation in the Middle Ages in Latin and often in the European vernacular languages as well. Translating Latin proverbs to and from the vernacular was a standard medieval school exercise, and a great many proverbs have migrated from one language to the other. (See Steiner, “Vernacular Proverb in Mediaeval Latin Prose,” and, on medieval England, Orme, Education and Society, pp. 76–85.) Ziolkowski cites many parallels to the Latin proverbs; for the most part we concentrate here on identifying expressions attested in ME outside the Dialogue. Whiting includes most of Marcolf’s responses in his index of English proverbs before 1500, but in many cases he is not able to cite any other example of the expression in question. We give Whiting numbers when his entry lists examples in English from outside the ME Dialogue of Solomon and Marcolf or provides cross-references, even if the attestation expresses the same idea in different words. We do not give the many Whiting numbers that simply lead the reader to Marcolf’s expression with no other information.

4.5a juged betwixt two light women. [B 5a] For Solomon’s judgment, see 3 Kings 3:16–27.

4.5b where women be there are wordys. [B 5b] Whiting W497 gives versions of an antifeminist proverb in English that is obviously related to Marcolf’s: “There women are are many words, there geese are are many turds.” Another related expression in English is W253, “A young wife and a harvest goose, much gaggle (chatter) with both.”

4.6a God yave wysdam. [B 6a] 3 Kings 3:11–13, “And the Lord said to Solomon: Behold I. . . have given thee a wise and understanding heart, insomuch that there hath been no one like thee before thee, nor shall arise after thee. . . . I have given thee. . . riches and glory, so that no one hath been like thee among the kings in all days heretofore” ["et dixit Dominus Salomoni. . . dedi tibi cor sapiens et intelligens in tantum ut nullus ante te similis tui fuerit nec post te surrecturus sit. . . dedi tibi divitias scilicet et gloriam ut nemo fuerit similis tui in regibus cunctis retro diebus"].

4.6b He that hath evyll neighborys praysyth hymself. [B 6b] Singer, Sprichwörter, 1:50, Whiting N79; compare Whiting P349, “He must praise himself since no man else will.”

4.7a wykkyd man fleyth. [B 7a] Proverbs 28:1, “The wicked man fleeth, when no man pursueth” ["Fugit impius, nemine persequente"].

4.7b Whan the kydde rennyth, men may se his ars. [B 7b] Whiting K22, with reference to a related expression about seeing the backside of a climbing ape. Marcolf’s statement about the white markings of a fleeing deer or roebuck (L capriolus) has its basis in observation of nature. Solomon moralizes about the ill effects of a bad conscience; Marcolf’s characteristic reply stresses the kinship between humans and animals and reminds Solomon of what Bakhtin calls “the material bodily lower stratum,” the parts of the body associated with defecation and filth but also with fertility and birth.

4.8a good wyf. [B 8a] Ecclesiasticus 26:21, “As the sun when it riseth to the world in the high places of God, so is the beauty of a good wife for the ornament of her house” ["Sicut sol oriens mundo in altissimis Dei, sic mulieris bonae species in ornamentum domus ejus"]; Proverbs 12:4, “A diligent woman is a crown to her husband” ["Mulier diligens corona est viro suo"].

4.8b potfull of mylke. [B 8b] Whiting C109 cites a sixteenth-century expression about the irresistibility of milk to a cat. In 4.12b Marcolf poses a similar thought as a rhetorical question.

4.9a wyse woman byldeth. [B 10a] Proverbs 14:1, “A wise woman buildeth her house but the foolish will pull down with her hands that also which is built” ["Sapiens mulier aedificat domum suam; insipiens exstructam quoque manibus destruet"].

4.9b that clene is browyn. [B 10b] Benary’s edition has "olla bene cocta melius durat, et qui merdam distemperat merdam bibit" [A well-fired (earthenware) pot stands up very well to use, but whoever stirs in shit, drinks shit]. Leeu’s Latin print substitutes the sense-destroying mundam [clean, fine] for merdam in the second clause. The ME text does not translate the apparently garbled second clause of the Latin text; rather, it offers a meaningful and logically consistent second clause, “what is brewed cleanly is good to drink.” “To drink as one brews” is a ME proverbial expression that takes many forms (see Whiting B529; Singer, Sprichwörter, 1:35–36).

4.10a A ferdefull woman shal be praysed. [B 11a] Proverbs 31:30, “the woman that feareth the Lord, she shall be praised” ["mulier timens Dominum ipsa laudabitur"].

4.10b A catte that hath a good skyn shal be flayne. [B 11b] Another of many instances in which Marcolf responds to Solomon’s sententious pronouncements about humanity with cynical statements about animals. Whiting C99 gives two examples of the related saying that a cat with a fair skin shows itself abroad while a singed cat stays home. The expression occurs in Chaucer’s Wife of Bath’s Prologue (CT III[D]348–54), where the fictional Wife implies that her misogynist husbands applied it to her. An application to women is also implied here by the juxtaposition of Marcolf’s reply to Solomon’s statement.

4.11b whyte mete. [B 12b] L lacticinia [dairy products (?)], obviously from lac [milk], but the meaning is unclear. Benary’s edition reads "vacca lactiva" [a cow pro­ducing milk], but lactivus occurs in no major dictionaries.

4.12a woman stronge in doyng good. [B 13a] Proverbs 31:10, “Who shall find a valiant woman? far and from the uttermost coasts is the price of her” ["Mulierem fortem quis inveniet? procul et de ultimis finibus pretium ejus"].

4.13b A fat woman and a great is larger in yevyng than othre. [B 14b] Leeu’s Latin print says that the fat woman is larger or more generous [largior] in giving visa [things seen], which the translator apparently omits as nonsensical. Some manuscripts read in dando jussa [in giving farts], a reading which fits well with Marcolf’s persistent scatology.

4.14b furre is not all lyke the slevys. [B 16b] L pellicia [fur coat]. The idea that a fair exterior can hide ugliness or corruption is widespread proverbial wisdom; see Ziolkowski, Solomon and Marcolf, p. 129, for Latin examples. That a woman’s attractive exterior hides ugliness or destructive qualities underneath is a com­monplace of antifeminist discourse.

4.15ab He that sowyth wyckydnesse shal repe evyll. [B 17ab] Proverbs 22:8, “He that soweth iniquity shall reap evils” ["Qui seminat iniquitatem metet mala"]. Compare Job 4:8; Galatians 6:8. The idea appears frequently in medieval sermons and proverb collections; see Whiting S542 for instances in English. Solomon uses the image of sowing and reaping metaphorically to warn against wickedness; Marcolf’s reply is more concrete and agricultural, especially in ME: “he who sows chaff [the lifeless outer husks that surround the fertile grain] mows a poor harvest.”

4.16b The asse behovyth to be allweye where he fedyth. [B 19b] The longest of Marcolf’s retorts and one of the most revealing. The medieval association between peasants and asses (and other beasts of burden) was very strong. See Bakhtin, Rabelais, p. 78: “The ass is one of the most ancient and lasting symbols of the material bodily lower stratum, which at the same time degrades and regen­erates”; see also Freedman, Images of the Medieval Peasant, pp. 48, 134, 140–47. Marcolf’s statement that the ass’s dung fertilizes the ground and his urine waters it implies a symbolic justification for the scatology and crudeness of his replies to Solomon: his fertilizing scatology helps to regenerate Solomon’s static and aging discourse. Of the connection between defecation and fertility, Bakhtin writes, “To degrade . . . means to concern oneself with the lower stratum of the body, the life of the belly and the reproductive organs; it therefore relates to acts of defecation and copulation, conception, pregnancy, and birth. Degradation . . . has not only a destructive, negative aspect, but also a regenerating one” (Rabelais, p. 21). Marcolf returns to the connection between bodily emissions and fertility in 15.1–10.
strawe. Leeu’s Latin print, like most of the manuscripts, has glebas [clods of earth]. Breaking up the clods is a final example of the animal’s positive effect on the soil of the field where it grazes. The point is somewhat obscured by the ME translation, strawe.

4.17a Lete an othre preyse thee. [B 20a] Proverbs 27:2, “Let another praise thee, and not thy own mouth: a stranger, and not thy own lips” ["Laudet te alienus, et non os tuum; extraneus, et non labia tua"].

4.18a Thou shalt ete moche ony. [B 23a] In Leeu’s Latin print, the command is negative ["ne comedas"], a curtailed version of the biblical dictum at Proverbs 25:16, “Thou hast found honey, eat what is sufficient for thee, lest being glutted therewith thou vomit it up” ["Mel invenisti, comede quod sufficit tibi, ne forte satitus evomas illud"], and 25:27, “As it is not good for a man to eat much honey. . .” ["sicut qui mel multum comedit non est ei bonum"]. The ME text makes Solomon’s prohibition into a positive commandment, and the mention of honey opens the way for another allusion to animal husbandry from Marcolf.

4.19a In an evylle wylled herte the spyryt of wysedome shalle not entre. [B 24a] Wisdom 1:4, “For wisdom will not enter into a malicious soul” ["quoniam in malivolam animam non intrabit sapientia"].

4.19b As ye smyte wyth an axe in an hard tre, beware that the chippes falle not in youre ye. [B 24b] Whiting C235. The proverb appears in ME in various forms, e.g., John Gower, Confessio Amantis 2.1917–18, “Fulofte he heweth up so hihe [high], / That chippes fallen in his yhe [eye].”

4.20a It is hard to spurne ayenst the sharp prykyl. [B 25a] Acts 26:14 (Jesus to Saul of Tarsus), “It is hard for thee to kick against the goad” ["Durum est tibi contra stimulum calcitrare"]. A prykyl or goad is a spiked object, used as a spur to drive an animal. The expression warns against the futility and pain of running up against an intractable obstacle.

4.21a Fede up youre children and from thayre youthe lerne thaym to do welle. [B 35a] Proverbs 19:18 and 29:17, "Erudi filium tuum" [chastise (or “instruct”) your son].

4.22b A worne tabyllcloth turnyth ayen to his furste kynde. [B 37b] Leeu’s Latin literally says “A worn out tablecloth turns back into flax fiber / hemp.” See Ziolkowski, Solomon and Marcolf, pp. 141–42, for commentary on a variant Latin text.

4.23a What the juge knowyth of right and trouthe that spekyth he out. [B 39a] Compare Proverbs 12:17, “He that speaketh that which he knoweth, sheweth forth justice: but he that lieth, is a deceitful witness” ["Qui quod novit loquitur index justitiae est; qui autem mentitur testis est fraudulentus"].

4.23b bisshop that spekyth not. [B 39b] Marcolf’s response appears to comment wryly on the rarity of silence among bishops: a silent bishop would be out of a job as bishop.

4.24a Honoure is to be yeven to the maistre, and the rodde to be feryd. [B 41a] Compare Proverbs 29:15, “The rod and reproof give wisdom: but the child that is left to his own will bringeth his mother to shame” ["Virga atque correptio tribuit sapientiam; puer autem qui dimittitur voluntati suae confundit matrem suam"].

4.24b juges handes. . . asse lene. [B 41b] The man who bribes a judge (“greases his palm”) has no money left to feed his pack animal. The Latin text refers to the judge’s mouth [buccam], but the ME translator prefers “hands.” L azella, asella is a “she-ass.”

4.25a Ayenst a stronge and myghty man thou shalt not fyghte, ne stryve ayenst the streme. [B 43a] Compare Ecclesiasticus 8:1, “Strive not with a powerful man, lest thou fall into his hands” ["Non litiges cum homine potente, ne forte incidas in manus illius"], and 4:32, “Resist not against the face of the mighty, and do not strive against the stream of the river” ["Noli resistere contra faciem potentis, nec coneris contra ictum fluvii"].

4.25b vultier takyth the skyn. [B 43b] To Solomon’s image of coercion as an imper­sonal force of nature such as a rushing stream, Marcolf responds with a harsh image of predation. Singer (Sprichwörter, 1:37) notes that the vernacular poet Marcabru uses a version of this expression.

4.27b wyt. [B 45b] L ingenium or ME wyt is Marcolf’s most salient quality in this dialogue; his improvisational cleverness is repeatedly matched against Solomon’s sapiencia or moral wisdom. Here Marcolf’s response implies that the clever man makes a point of greeting someone who is eating so that the eater is pressured to share. (The Latin text makes it clearer that “the other” is eating.) Incessant hunger is another of Marcolf’s characteristic traits.

4.28a Wyth brawlyng people holde no companye. [B 47a] Compare Proverbs 22:24, “Be not a friend to an angry man, and do not walk with a furious man” ["Noli esse amicus homini iracundo, neque ambules cum viro furioso"].

4.28b It is reson that he of the swyne ete that medlyth amonge the bren. [B 47b] Leeu’s Latin literally says “Rightly do the swine eat him who wanders into the bran.” Ziolkowski (Solomon and Marcolf, p. 147) cites various Latin proverbs to this effect, with the implication that one must watch where one is going and whom one is with. In the Latin text, Marcolf’s thought parallels Solomon’s at 4.28a but transposes it into barnyard imagery. The ME translation reverses the thought and makes the man the eater of the swine; the reversal disrupts the parallel with Solomon’s admonition.

4.30a There are many that to theyr good doers do evyl for good. [B 50a] Compare Proverbs 17:13, “He that rendereth evil for good, evil shall not depart from his house” ["Qui reddit mala pro bonis, non recedet malum de domo ejus"].

4.31a It is no frende that dureyth not in frendeshyp. [B 51a] Proverbs 17:17, “He that is a friend loveth at all times: and a brother is proved in distress” ["Omni tempore diligit qui amicus est; et frater in angustiis comprobatur"].

4.32a from his maister. [B 52a] The Latin has ab amico [from a friend]. Proverbs 18:1, “He that hath a mind to depart from a friend seeketh occasions” ["Occasiones quaerit qui vult recedere ab amico"].

4.32b she hath a skabbyd arse. [B 52b] The implication of this antifeminist proverb seems to be either that a woman will claim to have a scabby arse as an excuse for not having sex or, perhaps more in keeping with Marcolf’s sense of humor as it emerges later in the work, he may be claiming (as a disincentive to refusal) that a woman who refuses to have sex is thereby admitting that her backside is scabby.

4.33b plowyth wyth a wolf. [B 53b] Leeu’s Latin text reads lupo [wolf], and the translator follows suit, but the best manuscripts read vulpes [fox], and the folly or impossibility of plowing with a fox was already proverbial in antiquity, as Ziolkowski demonstrates (Solomon and Marcolf, p. 150).

4.34ab radissh rotys. [B 54a] The exchange plays on the theme of eating radishes as a source of bad breath, burping, and farting.

4.35b in the sande. [B 56b] The translator has tried to make sense of the obscure reading trimpum / tripum; Benary prints scirpum [rush, bulrush].

4.36a He that stoppyth his erys. [B 57a] Compare Proverbs 21:13, “He that stoppeth his ear against the cry of the poor, shall also cry himself and shall not be heard” ["Qui obturat aurem suam ad clamorem pauperis, et ipse clamabit, et non exaudietur"].

4.37ab Ryse up, thou northren wynde. . . [B 58ab] Solomon quotes from Canticles (Song of Songs) 4:16; Marcolf contradicts Solomon’s positive image of the north wind by referring to its destructive potential. The contrast suggests that a north wind aroused more positive associations in the biblical Holy Land than it did in medieval Europe. Here the ME text translates only the first line of the two-line poem in the Latin text; the second line reads, “He who has a hernia is not in good health.”

4.38b A man that is brostyn and hyde it, they growe the more. [B 59b] References to digestion, defecation, and diseases, such as the scabby arse in 4.32b or the hernias here, are part of Marcolf’s ongoing insistence on the needs, frailties, and indignities of the body.

4.39a As thou syttyst at a riche mans table, beholde diligently what comyth afore thee. [B 63a] Proverbs 23:1, “When thou shalt sit to eat with a prince, consider diligently what is set before thy face” ["Quando sederis ut comedas cum principe, diligenter attende quae apposita sunt ante faciem tuam"].

4.40a Whan thou syttyst at the tabyll, beware that thou taste not furst. [B 64a] Ecclesi­asticus 31:12, “Art thou set at a great table? be not the first to open thy mouth upon it” ["Supra mensam magnam sedisti, non aperias super illam faucem tuam prior"].

4.41b The catte seeth wele whoos berde she lycke shall. [B 65b] Whiting C108. This widespread proverb appears in ME in various forms, including this example from a bilingual collection of c. 1300: “Well wot hure [our] cat, whas berd he lickat” / "Murelegus bene scit, cuius barbam lambere suescit." It appears in Latin as well as in the Old French Li Proverbe au vilain and in the ME Proverbs of Hending (c. 1325); its meaning varies by context (Singer, Sprichwörter, 1:38–40). Here in the mouth of Marcolf it could reassert the power of the seemingly weaker but craftier member of a pairing: Solomon says that the strong man takes all from the weak; Marcolf’s reply may mean that a cat knows very well how to get what it wants from a human.

4.42a That the wycked feryth, that fallyth hym often. [B 67a] Proverbs 10:24, “That which the wicked feareth, shall come upon him” ["Quod timet impius veniet super eum"].

4.43a For the colde the slouthfull wolde not go to plough. [B 68a] Proverbs 20:4, “Because of the cold the sluggard would not plough: he shall beg therefore in the summer, and it shall not be given him” ["Propter frigus piger arare noluit; mendicabit ergo aestate, et non dabitur illi"].

4.43b A nakyd ars no man kan robbe or dispoyle. [B 68b] Solomon warns that the lazy man who does not plant his crops may not be able to beg bread when he is hungry; Marcolf’s rejoinder suggests that a man with nothing has nothing to lose. Marcolf’s expression is Whiting A196, with no other examples, but a related saying, B528, occurs in a sixteenth-century dialogue in proverbs by John Heywood, “There is nothyng more vayne . . . Than to beg a breeche of a bare arst man” (A dialogue conteynyng the number of the effectuall prouerbes in the Englishe tounge, in Heywood, Works, pp. 18–101).

4.45b An angry howsewyf. [B 75b] A widespread proverb that goes back to scripture and thus might be thought to belong to Solomon’s discursive world rather than Marcolf’s: “a wrangling wife is like a roof continually dropping through” (Proverbs 19:13), “Roofs dripping through in a cold day, and a contentious woman are alike” (Proverbs 27:15). Proverbs 10:26 testifies to the irritation to the eyes caused by smoke. Medieval writers commonly refer to “three things” that cause a man to flee his own house (see Ziolkowski, Solomon and Marcolf, p. 162, for Latin examples; Whiting T187 for English versions). Often the “three things” are the elements from scripture: a scolding wife, a leaking roof, and smoke. Compare Chaucer’s Wife of Bath’s Prologue, CT III(D)278–80, and Tale of Melibee, CT VII(B2)1086; also William Langland, Piers Plowman, B.17.319–24, for a husband plagued by the same three, including, with Langland’s characteristic concreteness, “reyne on his bedde.” In Benary’s manuscript-based edition, Marcolf gives just two irritants in the form of a short proverb poem: "Domina irata / et patella perforata / dampnum sunt in casa" [An angry woman and a pan with holes are ruinous in a house]. The Latin printed editions, including Leeu’s, add another line to produce four irritants: "Domina irata / fumus, et ratta / patella perforata / damnum sunt in casa" [An angry woman, smoke, and a rat, a pan with holes, are ruinous in a house]. The ME translator softens damnum to “unprofytable.”

4.47a Saye not to thy frende. [B 80a] Proverbs 3:28, “Say not to thy friend: Go, and come again: and to morrow I will give to thee: when thou canst give at present” ["Ne dicas amico tuo: Vade, et revertere, cras dabo tibi, cum statim possis dare"].

4.48a He that is wyne dronken holdyth nothing that he sayth. [B 82a] Compare Ecclesi­asticus 20:7, “A wise man will hold his peace till he see opportunity: but a babbler, and a fool, will regard no time” ["Homo sapiens tacebit usque ad tempus; lascivus autem et inprudens non servabunt tempus"].

4.48b An opyn arse hath no lord. [B 82b] Ziolkowski (Solomon and Marcolf, pp. 164–65) cites Latin parallels to suggest that the thought here might once have been that it is not possible to control the farting of a culus confractus or “opyn arse.” Certainly, the arsehole and the fart are frequent topics in Marcolf’s discourse, especially as represented by the fullest manuscripts. Equally Marcolfian is the antiauthoritarian ideal of having “no master” or “no lord.” The connection to Solomon’s pronouncement may be that neither the drunken man nor the “opyn arse” submits to censorship or restraint — an undesirable state from Solomon’s perspective, but a positive image of freedom from Marcolf’s.

4.50b The pore had ne breed and yet he bought an hownde. [B 84b] Implied criticism of the poor man who buys a dog or feeds his dog before himself is Marcolf’s cynical response to Solomon’s apparent praise of the poor man who feeds his wife before himself. Whiting indexes Marcolf’s remark as P300 with no other instances, but a closely related saying is H564, “the hound eats what the poor man saves,” found in a bilingual proverb collection of c. 1300: “hund eet, that hen man spelat / 'Sepe vorat gnarus canis id quod servat avarus.'” Kemble (Dialogue of Salomon and Saturnus, p. 63) lists other related sayings.

4.51a The fole answeryth aftyr hys folisshnes. [B 85a] Proverbs 26:5, “Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he imagine himself to be wise” ["Responde stulto juxta stultitiam suam, ne sibi sapiens esse videatur"]. Leeu’s Latin text and the ME translation, however, state that the fool himself responds according to his foolishness, lest he seem to be wise [to others].

4.51b What the stone heryth, that shalle the oke answere. [B 85b] Benary’s edition reads "Petra quod audit, illi respondet echo" [What the stone hears, to that the echo responds]. The Latin prints substitute an oak [quercus] for the echo. Whiting’s entry S788 cites no other instances but refers the reader to the related expression “to preach to the post” (P317), which suggests a possible inter­pretation for Marcolf’s cryptic remark as we have it here: like the post, the stone hears nothing, not even Solomon’s moralizing, and the oak answers nothing back, a negative situation from Solomon’s point of view, but one that suits Marcolf admirably.

4.52a Wrathe hath no mercy. [B 86a] Proverbs 27:4, “Anger hath no mercy, nor fury when it breaketh forth: and who can bear the violence of one provoked?” ["Ira non habet misericordiam nec erumpens furor; et impetum concitati ferre quis poterit?"].

4.53a mouthe of an ennemye. [B 87a] Compare Proverbs 26:24, “An enemy is known by his lips, when in his heart he entertaineth deceit” ["Labiis suis intelligitur inimicus, cum in corde tractaverit dolos"].

4.54a Slepe as ye have nede. [B 92a] Compare Proverbs 6:4, “Give not sleep to thy eyes, neither let thy eyelids slumber” ["Ne dederis somnum oculis tuis, nec dormitent palpebrae tuae"].

4.55ab–56ab We have well fyllyd oure bellys, lete us thanke God . . . as wele as the full fedd. [B 93ab–94ab] These two exchanges on hunger articulate important themes of the whole dialogue. Solomon speaks from the point of view of the feaster, whose present pleasure helps to console him for the sorrowful knowledge that one day he must die, as at 1 Corinthians 15:32, “Let us eat and drink, for to morrow we shall die” ["Manducemus, et bibamus, cras enim moriemur"]. Marcolf points out that the hungry and the well-fed do not sing the same song (or see the world from the same perspective) and that, like the feasters, the hungry also die, but without the consolation of banquets and merrymaking. The “ouzel/owsell” (L merulus [blackbird]) who sings joyfully (jubilat) suggests Solomon, whose songs [carmina] numbered “a thousand and five” (3 Kings 4:32). Benary’s edition reads "respondit ei cuculus" [the cuckoo answered him] — this harsh-voiced respondent suggests Marcolf, whose brash “song” does indeed contrast sharply with Solomon’s language. The Latin prints give graculus [jackdaw] for cuculus, which sustains the idea of a harsh-voiced bird, such as a crow, jay, or grackle. The ME translator’s choice ofthrusshe blunts the contrast somewhat, as it usually indicates a songbird.

4.57a Indicte. [B 95a] ME indicte [to write, compose], here, perhaps, a song. L palogisare in the Leeu print is unattested, though paralogizari [reason falsely] occurs, but this sense seems inappropriate. Benary prints parabolisare, which he takes to mean “speak artfully”; it could also mean “speak in proverbs.”

4.59a Dyspyse thou not a lytyll yifte that is yeven thee of a trewe frende. [B 97a] While most of Solomon’s sententious remarks come from scripture, Benary’s edition has at this point a distich derived from the Distichs of Cato, a medieval schooltext: "Exiguum munus cum dat tibi pauper amicus / Accipito placite et plene laudare memento" [When a poor friend gives you a meager gift, accept it graciously and remember to praise it heartily]. Leeu’s Latin print contains the first line, but the second is abbreviated to "noli despicere" [do not scorn it]. Many proverbs, medieval and modern, testify to the wisdom of appreciating even a small gift and valuing the generosity behind it above the value of the gift.

4.59b That a geldyd man hath, that yevyth he to his neigborwes. [B 97b] As so often, Marcolf’s reply is cryptic, and varying interpretations have been offered. The ME translator makes vicine sue plural (“his neigborwes”), though the Latin is grammatically singular: “What the castrated man has, he gives to his female neighbor.” This could possibly be a wry way of saying that (as a sex partner) the castrated man has nothing to give to his female neighbor. Ziolkowski (Solomon and Marcolf, p. 171) suggests that the castrated man “satisfies his [female] neighbor as best he can.” Beecher (Dialogue of Solomon and Marcolphus, p. 208n62) proposes to emend castratus [castrated] to crassatus [foolish], suggesting that “what a dim wit owns he gives away.”

4.60a Go thou not wyth the evyll man or the brawelyng. [B 99a] Compare Ecclesiasticus 8:18, “Go not on the way with a bold man, lest he burden thee with his evils: for he goeth according to his own will, and thou shalt perish together with his folly” ["Cum audace non eas in via, ne forte gravet mala sua in te; ipse enim secundum voluntatem suam vadit, et simul cum stultitia illius peries"].

4.60b A dede bee makyth no hony. [B 99b] The Latin print uses a coarser expression, “A dead bee does not shit [caccat] honey.” Whiting B171 offers no other medieval examples but provides cross-references to postmedieval proverb collections.

4.61a frendeshipe with a false and evylwylled man. [B 100a] Proverbs 16:29, “An unjust man allureth his friend: and leadeth him into a way that is not good” ["Vir iniquus lactat amicum suum; et ducit eum per viam non bonam"].

4.62a He that answeryth afore he is demaundyd shewyth hymself a fole. [B 101a] Proverbs 18:13, “He that answereth before he heareth sheweth himself to be a fool, and worthy of confusion” ["Qui prius respondet quam audiat, stultum se esse demonstrat, et confusione dignum"].

4.62b tredyth. [B 101b] L pungit [poke, prod]. Beecher (Dialogue of Solomon and Marcolphus, p. 208n64) takes Marcolf’s advice to mean “when someone is pestering you, leave,” which is an acceptable meaning of retrahere pedem [depart, withdraw]. Ziolkowski (Solomon and Marcolf, p. 172) suggests that the retracting of the foot is in order to kick. That is, if you are poked, you draw back your foot to retaliate. The ME translator apparently takes the prodding to refer to treading on one’s foot: if it looks as though someone will step on your foot, you prudently pull it back, a thought consistent with Marcolf’s wary self-preservation.

4.63ab Evrything chesyth his lyke. [B 102ab] Ecclesiasticus 13:19, “Every beast loveth its like; so also every man that is nearest to himself” ["omne animal diligit similem sibi sic et omnis homo proximum sibi"]. Variations on the idea that “Everything is attracted to its like” are widespread in medieval proverb tradition. For many English examples, see Whiting L272 (Marcolf’s particular expression about scabby horses is indexed as H523 with no other examples). Marcolf’s cynical response contests the ideal offered by Solomon, that man and beast each love the others of its kind, and he uses yet another animal image to remind the reader of man’s animal body and its susceptibility to disease (the horses are “skabbyd”). The MED notes that the rare verb gnappen is used by Robert Mannyng to describe tormented people who “gnapped” their own feet and hands as dogs do when they gnaw at their leads; the context here suggests that the horses snap at one another, further contradicting Solomon’s idealistic claim that like is affectionate toward like.

4.64a A mercyfull man doth wele to his sowle. [B 103a] Proverbs 11:17, “A merciful man doth good to his own soul” ["Benefacit animae suae vir misericors"].

4.64b He dyspyseth a great yifte that knowyth not hymself. [B 103b] Whiting G73 gives no other examples of Marcolf’s particular wording, but the implicit injunction, “Know thyself,” K100, is one of the oldest and most common of European proverbs. It seems noteworthy that Marcolf, not Solomon, utters this significant piece of proverbial wisdom. Its message resonates with Marcolf’s gibes at Solomon’s self-aggrandizement: see for example 4.3ab, 4.6ab, 4.76ab, 7.7–10.

4.65ab He that skapyth the wolf metyth the lyon. / From evyll into worse, as the cooke to a bakere. [B 104ab] See Ziolkowski (Solomon and Marcolf, p. 173) for the Aesopian associations of Marcolf’s reply. A modern equivalent is “out of the frying pan and into the fire.”

4.66b The stylle standyng watyr and the man that spekyth but lytylle, beleve thaym not. [B 105b] A widespread medieval proverb. Singer (Sprichwörter, 1:54) notes its presence in the Distichs of Cato 4.31. Whiting gives many variants on the well-known expression “still waters run deep” (W70); he indexes Marcolf’s partic­ular version separately as W63 with references to postmedieval proverb collections. The proverb warns against still waters because they can conceal unsuspected depths or hazards; metaphorically it urges caution in dealing with people who keep their thoughts to themselves.

4.67b in a boke. [B 106b] L in casibus from casus [fall; incident; case; misfortune]. The ME translator, understandably perplexed about the author’s intent, has chosen a meaning to fit the context. Benary’s edition has "in breve" [in brief]. The ME translation thus creates a rare instance of Marcolf citing from books.

4.68ab A chylde of an hundred yere . . . It is to late an olde hounde in a bande to lede. [B 110ab] Solomon’s prophetic injunction is a variation on Isaias 65:20, “There shall no more be an infant of days there, nor an old man that shall not fill up his days: for the child shall die a hundred years old, and the sinner being a hundred years old shall be accursed” ["non erit ibi amplius infans dierum, et senex qui non impleat dies suos, quoniam puer centum annorum morietur, et peccator centum annorum maledictus erit"]. Marcolf replies with a homely observation about the difficulty of training an old dog to the leash for which Singer (Sprichwörter, 1:51–52) gives numerous Latin analogues. The modern equiva­lent is of course the familiar saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

4.69a He that hath, shal be yeven, and shall flowe. [B 111a] Matthew 25:29, “For to every one that hath shall be given, and he shall abound” ["Omni enim habenti dabitur, et abundabit"]; also Matthew 13:12.

4.70ab hath a dowble herte. . . that wolle two weyes go. [B 113ab] Ecclesiasticus 2:14, “Woe to them that are of a double heart and to wicked lips, and to the hands that do evil, and to the sinner that goeth on the earth two ways” ["Vae duplici corde, et labiis scelestis, et manibus malefacientibus, et peccatori terram ingredienti duabus viis"]; also 3:28. In this amusing pairing, Solomon’s monologic belief in a single path toward a single truth is undercut by Marcolf’s literal warning against the anatomical and sartorial hazards of walking in two directions at once. In exchange 4.72ab, Marcolf again uses the human backside to make a point about singularity and doubleness.

4.71a Of habundaunce of th’erte the mouth spekyst. [B 116a] Matthew 12:34 and Luke 6:45, “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” ["ex abundantia enim cordis os loquitur"].

4.73a A fayre woman is to be lovyd of hire husbande. [B 118a] Compare Ecclesiasticus 26:21, “As the sun when it riseth to the world in the high places of God, so is the beauty of a good wife for the ornament of her house” ["sicut sol oriens mundo in altissimis Dei sic mulieris bonae species in ornamentum domus ejus"]; Proverbs 12:4, “A diligent woman is a crown to her husband” ["Mulier diligens corona est viro suo"].

4.73b derke. [B 118b] L irsuta is “hairy, shaggy” rather than “dark.”

4.75a Nede makyth a right wyse man to do evyll. [B 120a] Compare Ecclesiastes 7:21, “For there is no just man upon earth, that doth good, and sinneth not” ["Non est enim homo justus in terra qui faciat bonum et non peccet"].

4.76b katte. [B 122b] The ME translator’s rendering of L catulus [puppy].

4.77b The glouton kan not se or renne al aboute. [B 123b] The meaning of the L "Gluto non currit per totum" [The glutton does not run through everything] is unclear. Benary’s edition has "non comedit" [does not eat] in place of "non currit" [does not run], but the thought would make better sense without the negative non (i.e., “the glutton eats through everything”), as Ziolkowski points out (Solomon and Marcolf, p. 182). The ME translator seems to imagine vision and mobility problems resulting from gluttony.

4.78b The shepherde that wakyth welle, ther shall the wolf no wolle shyte. [B 124b] An attentive shepherd does not fall asleep and leave his sheep to be eaten by wolves, who therefore do not excrete the sheep’s wool. The ME translator produces the right sense despite an erroneous Latin text: "Molli bergario lupus non cacat lanam" [When the shepherd is lax, the wolf does not shit wool]. This proverb was widely used in medieval works as a criticism of bad supervision or leadership. Singer (Sprichwörter, 1:48–49) gives analogues for the Latin expression, and Whiting S241 and S242 offer parallels from Langland and Chaucer. The C-text of Langland’s Piers Plowman gives versions in both ME and Latin that resemble Marcolf’s saying quite closely: “Thyne sheep are ner al shabbyd [covered with sores], the wolf shiteth woolle. "Sub molli pastore lupus lanam cacat'" (Passus 10, line 264). Chaucer’s Physician’s Tale uses a sanitized version of the expression to chide lax parents: “Under a shepherde softe and necligent / The wolf hath many a sheep and lamb torent [torn apart]” (CT VI[C]101–02).

4.79a It becomth no foles to speke or to brynge forth any wyse reason. [B 126a] Proverbs 17:7, “Eloquent words do not become a fool” ["Non decent stultum verba com­posita"].

4.79b It becomyth not a dogge to bere a sadylle. [B 126b] A widespread proverbial comparison ridicules an inappropriate form of human behavior (such as the dispensing of wisdom by a fool mentioned by Solomon in 4.79a) by evoking the image of a saddle worn by an inappropriate animal: Whiting S533 cites a version with a sow and C501 features a cow. For Latin examples, see Ziolkowski, Solomon and Marcolf, pp. 183–84.

4.80a Whyles the children are lytyll, reighte theyre lymmes and maners. [B 127a] Compare Ecclesiasticus 30:12, “beat his sides while he is a child” ["tunde latera ejus dum infans est"].

4.82a Of a good man comth a good wyf. [B 130b] The sentiment is close to Ecclesiasticus 26:3, “A good wife is a good portion, she shall be given in the portion of them that fear God, to a man for his good deeds” ["Pars bona mulier bona, in parte timentium Deum dabitur viro pro factis bonis"].

4.82b alle the bestyalle wyves trede undre fote. [B 130b] One of the ugliest antifeminist images in the print versions of the dialogue. An ample meal produces an ample turd that men trample under foot, just as they should trample "bestiales mulieres" [bestial women]. The ME print has an overturned u in wyues that makes the word look like wynes. Overturned u’s and n’s are a common typesetting error in the ME text, as our textual notes witness.

4.84b hepe of stonys. [B 132b] Leeu’s Latin print has strues [stack, heap], where most manuscripts have strontus [turd]. Perhaps this was a sanitizing gesture, though ample scatology remains. The phrase “of stonys” is the ME translator’s addition. This pairing (4.84ab) is a good reminder that the term proverb applies only very loosely to a number of the remarks in this verbal contest. Marcolf’s rejoinder is a close verbal parody of Solomon’s reference to his sword, a symbol of his aristocratic position in the social hierarchy, which Marcolf reduces to a mundane barnyard image. A house and shed surrounded by a hedge was a characteristic peasant dwelling in medieval Europe, and the pile of dung mentioned by the manuscript versions would be no uncommon sight. A similar but more transgressive pairing (B 40ab in Appendix) is omitted from the prints: there Solomon evokes another symbol of aristocratic status by declaring that a black boss fits perfectly on a white shield; Marcolf replies that a black arsehole sits perfectly between white cheeks.

4.85a The gretter that ye be, the more meke shulde ye be in alle thyngys. [B 133a] Ecclesi­asticus 3:20, “The greater thou art, the more humble thyself in all things” ["Quanto magnus es, humilia te in omnibus"].

4.85b He rydyth well that ridyth wyth his felawes. [B 133b] For “wyth his felawes,” Leeu’s Latin print gives cum paribus [with his equals]; this is probably the import of the ME expression as well.

4.86a The wyse chylde gladyth the fadyr. [B 136a] Proverbs 10:1, “A wise son maketh the father glad: but a foolish son is the sorrow of his mother” ["Filius sapiens laetificat patrem; filius vero stultus moestitia est matris suae"].

4.87a He that sowyth wyth skaerstye repyth skaersly [B 137a]. 2 Corinthians 9:6, “He who soweth sparingly, shall also reap sparingly” ["Qui parce seminat, parce et metet"].

4.88a, 89a Do alle thynges by counsell. . . Alle thinges have theyre seasons and tyme. [B 139a, 140a] Solomon appears to play his strongest cards just as the match ends: these two biblical sayings are among the most widely cited pieces of Solomonic wisdom in medieval literature. In English alone, Whiting records about twenty citations of the advice from Ecclesiasticus 32:24, “Do thou nothing without counsel” (C470) and a similar number for Ecclesiastes 3:1, “All things have their season [time]” (T88).

4.89b Now daye; tomorwe daye. [B 140b] The Latin "Diem hodie, diem cras" might be translated “Today is a day, tomorrow is [another] day,” with the implication “there is always tomorrow, if I don’t succeed today,” an expression of resigna­tion appropriate to a lumbering ox who tries to catch a hare. Singer (Sprichwörter, 1:49–50) gives parallels.

5.2 thyrdde in the kingedome. [B Epil.] At Daniel 5:16 and 29, King Belshazaar promises Daniel that he will make him the “third prince” in the kingdom, if he can read and interpret the writing on the wall.

5.5 Quare rex promisit? [B Epil.] Immediately preceding in the Latin text is another question, "Quis adheret culo nisi pastelli?" [Who sticks to the arsehole except little clots?]. Pastellus is “pastry; pastille,” but the meaning is unclear. This obscure question is omitted from the ME text.

5.6 kinges xii provostes. [B Epil.] The list of Solomon’s governors is based on 3 Kings 4:7–19. There is considerable variation in spellings and one governor, Achimaas (Leeu’s “Achimaab”), is missing from the English.

5.8 Why dryve ye hym not out . . . of his syghte? [B Epil.] At beginning of 5.8, the phrase "Cur non magnis colaphis maceratur" [Why isn’t he tormented with great blows?] is omitted from the ME.

5.11 There is no king were no lawe is. [B Epil.] For other reproofs of Solomon’s kingship, see note to 11.7 and see also 13.7, where Marcolf again responds to what he considers an act of injustice: “where as the hede is seke and evyll at ease, there is no lawe.”

6–8 [B 2.1–3] The riddling contest. In sections 6 through 8, the scene moves from Solomon’s court to Marcolf’s peasant house, imagined as sufficiently close by for the king and his men to come upon it while hunting. On his home ground, Marcolf takes the lead by posing riddles, just as Solomon led off in the exchanges of genealogies and proverbs that took place at his court. Figure 5 depicts the answers to each of Marcolf’s riddles, as they are given in 6.6–9 and 6.16–20. For analogues to these riddles, see Ziolkowski, Solomon and Marcolf, pp. 196–99. Solomon’s lack of success in solving Marcolf’s riddles presumably arises from his lack of experiential knowledge. The solutions involve basic realities of peasant life: preparing food, raising crops, fighting off vermin, preparing a body for burial, and conceiving a child. Bakhtin observes that riddles can transform life’s most terrifying mysteries into a “gay and carefree” game (Rabelais, p. 233).

6.16 footpath. [B 2.1] The path apparently runs through the father’s crops. When he sets out thorns to deflect pedestrians from one harmful or destructive path, they trample another.

7.1–10 [B 2.2] The origins of Solomon’s wisdom and Marcolf’s cleverness. This intriguing etiological tale, nestled between the two parts of the riddling match, begins with Solomon’s demand for an explanation of the unexpected wit he discovers in this coarse rustic. Scholars have noted a mild anomaly in the narrative frame, in that Marcolf seems to arrive as a stranger to Solomon when the work opens, and now we have a flashback to a past in which Marcolf was present when Solomon’s mother prepared her son the vulture’s heart that gave him his extraordinary wisdom. That Barsebea roasted the heart on a piece of bread and “gave” it to Solomon to eat (L tibi comedere dedit, ME “yave you the herte to ete”), but only afterward threw the uneaten crust to Marcolf (L projecit, ME “kast at my hede”), suggests that Marcolf may simply have been a hungry boy lurking about the royal kitchen who received little attention from either Solomon or his mother and need not have been recog­nizable as an adult to his sovereign. Solomon denies the truth of Marcolf’s tale in 7.7, unsurprisingly preferring the biblical account in which his wisdom was God-given rather than a result of his mother’s sorcery (see 3 Kings 3:4–15). Marcolf makes up a number of self-serving fictions over the course of the work, and this one too may be a tall tale, not to be taken literally as part of the framing narrative. Marcolf’s hunger has symbolic resonance throughout the work, and in 8.17 he again implies that his hunger and his cleverness are related.

7.2 there was a yonge man his phisician. [B 2.2] The physicians of the Latin text (medici) become a single physician in ME.

8.2–3 pot of the same cowe be coveryd. [B 2.3] Here Solomon rashly offers a riddle of his own: he requests a pot of milk “covered” by the cow that produced the milk. Marcolf’s mother, Floscemya, readily offers a solution: she covers the milk with a flat cake (L placenta) or, in English, a flan, also prepared with the milk of the family cow. Marcolf discomfits Solomon with an alternate solution: a “drye bakyn cowe torde” also allows one to cover the jug of milk with the product of the same cow.

8.14–15 I commaunded not so to be done. . . Thus I undyrstode. [B 2.3] Solomon’s insistence and Marcolf’s rejoinder once again emphasize the difference in perspective between the two, the difficulties they face in communicating across contrastive discourses, and Marcolf’s deliberate exploitation of this gap in communication.

8.17 hungyr chaungyd wyt. [B 2.3] The ME translator may have chosen this literal rendition of "fames mutavit ingenium" as a way of acknowledging the Latin text’s play on the meanings of ingenium here and in 8.20 ("pro ipso ingenio"), where the word also applies to Marcolf and can mean either by his “wit” or by his “clever contrivance or stratagem” (see Cosquin, “Le Conte du chat,” pp. 390–91). For discussions of ingenium or cleverness as a controversial intellectual faculty, see Hanning, Individual in Twelfth-Century Romance, especially pp. 105–38, and Blamires, “Women and Creative Intelli­gence.” For Marcolf’s ingenium, contrasted with Solomon’s received wisdom, as a source of the dialogue’s unity and dynamism, see Bradbury, “Rival Wisdom.”

8.20 the pot I have thus coveryd wyth a cowe torde. [B 2.3] Marcolf has the last laugh in the riddling match, just as he prevails in 4.91ab at the end of the proverb contest. Solomon’s lack of success at posing his own riddle seems to arise from the same problem that impeded him in answering Marcolf’s riddles: he lacks sufficient awareness of the openness of language to multiple interpreta­tions as well as a knowledge of the gritty barnyard realities of peasant life. In envisioning an appetizing solution to the “covered by the same cow” riddle, Solomon thinks of the kind of milk-glazed delicacy someone prepares for him but not of the dung produced by the cow.

9.1–13.8 Propositions and proofs. Sections 9 through 13 [B 2.4–8] present a contest within a contest. Growing annoyed with Marcolf, Solomon condemns him to beheading if he cannot stay awake all night (9.1). Each time Solomon accuses him of sleeping, Marcolf responds with a proposition, and Solomon demands that he prove it, again on pain of death.

9.17 wery of waking. [B 2.4] After challenging Marcolf to stay awake all night in 9.1, at the end of the night Solomon grows “wery of waking,” just as he grew “wery of spekyng” at the end of the proverb contest (4.90a). In the hyperpolarized world of the Dialogue, the emphasis on Solomon’s weariness may imply that he represents an ancient, fixed, canonical tradition that is running out of precepts and out of energy, whereas Marcolf possesses the energy of newer discourses gaining ground over the course of the Middle Ages with their capacity to improvise, challenge authority, and foster change. See Corti, “Models and Antimodels in Medieval Culture,” and Bradbury, “Rival Wisdom.”

10.1 hys sustyr Fudasa. [B 2.5] The sister of Marcolf is first mentioned without name in the riddle contest as weeping over her unwed pregnancy (6.19–20); here she is given the name Fudasa (Fusada in Benary’s edition). As a result of the pregnancy, she is “thycker than she was of lenghthe” (12.4), and she also bears an unfortunate resemblance to Marcolf in the face (vysage, 12.5), much to Solomon’s amusement when he first sees her in 12.3. Marcolf’s face is caricatured in 2.2–5.

10.2 The king Salomon is ayenst me. [B 2.5] The ME translation of Marcolf’s state­ment, "Rex Salomon contrarius est mihi," conveys the primary meaning of the statement in context. Given the academic language of this section (the repe­tition of the verb probare [prove]), a possible secondary meaning is “King Solomon is contrary to me,” in the sense of an opposite or logical contrary, another reminder of the polarized nature of this entire dialogue between king and peasant and of the many oppositions the two represent. The importance of contraries, contradictions, and opposites in medieval literature has been the subject of extensive scholarship: see Solterer, Master and Minerva; Brown, Contrary Things; Kay, Courtly Contradictions; and Bouchard, “Every Valley Shall Be Exalted.”

11.5 he stumblyd at the panne and was nygh fallyn therin. [B 2.6] Solomon’s stumble causes him, in his own words, nearly to break his neck (11.8). The inversion of his words of wisdom in the proverb contest now becomes a literal near-inversion of his royal person. The comic upending (or the thrashing or uncrowning) of a king was for Bakhtin a carnivalesque image that offers a symbolic “element of victory” for the popular spirit over official forces of authority and intimidation, “the defeat of power, of earthly kings, of the earthly upper classes, of all that oppresses and restricts” (Rabelais, p. 92; see also pp. 197–208).

11.7 Juge egaly (i.e., “judge impartially”). [B 2.6] Solomon is of course famed for his just judgments, most notably that between the two women who claim to be the mother of the same child, mentioned at 4.5a and 16.1–4. As part of the comic inversion enacted by this work, Marcolf “schools” the king in what should be Solomon’s own virtues by asking him to rule justly (here and in 11.9) and with patience (12.23). In Benary’s edition (II.9), Marcolf implicitly chides Solomon for the lack of mercy [misericordia] shown to him at court. See 5.11 and 13.7 for more criticism of Solomon’s kingship.

12.20 thou doost alle thy thynges by crafte and subtyltye [B 2.7]. Solomon’s remark calls attention once again to Marcolf’s central characteristic, his amoral cleverness.

13 in the kinges house a catte . . . wont to holde . . . a brennyng kandell. [B 2.8–9] For Marcolf’s proof of the fifth and final proposition of this contest, that nature wins out over nurture, the author draws upon a widespread folktale that can also take the form of an exemplum or a proverb. For the dispersion of “the cat and the candle” motif, see Cosquin, “Le Conte du chat”; Beecher, ed., Dialogue of Solomon and Marcolphus, pp. 215–16n106; Ben-Amos, Folktales of the Jews, 1:397–404; and Ziolkowski, Solomon and Marcolf, pp. 217–18. In “The Story of the Cat and the Candle in Middle English Literature,” Braekman and Macaulay edit and comment on a related ME dialogue between “Kynd” [Nature] and “Nurtur,” in which Nurtur owns the carefully trained cat and tries to use it to “preve that nurtur passis kynd,” only to be refuted by Kynd, who employs a mouse in the same way that Marcolf does. (See also V. J. Scattergood, 'Debate between Nurture and Kynd' for the ME dialogue and some literary relations.) In the ME poem, found in London, British Library, MS Harley 541, fols. 212v–213r, the roles of Nurtur and Kynd correspond intriguingly to those represented by the two interlocutors in our prose dialogue. Solomon’s innumerable moral precepts and the schoolmasterish persona given him in the various versions of our dialogue make him ideally suited to defend the side of Nurtur, education or “lernyng,” as the ME translator calls it in 9.16 and 13.5. In contrast, Marcolf’s investment in nature (inborn qualities) over nurture (learned behavior) follows from his necessary reliance on his native wit in the absence of formal education. In our dialogue, Solomon carefully trains the cat and Marcolf takes advantage of its instincts and appetites.

13.8 Neythre so nor so shall the wyse Salomon of Marcolf be quyte. [B 2.8] Marcolf’s assertion that Solomon will never be rid of him reminds the reader of the persistence of the values for which Marcolf stands, including the needs, appetites, and instincts of the body and man’s necessary connection to the natural world. The ME translator does not render the epithet britone / bricone [rogue, scoundrel] applied to Marcolf in Leeu’s Latin text.

15.1–10 spytte not but upon the bare grownde. [B 2.10] Marcolf’s claim that his spit will benefit the bald man’s head by fertilizing it (making it “fat”) so that hair can grow echoes the language of 4.16b, his longest contribution to the proverb contest, where he stresses the fertilizing benefit that the waste products of an ass offer to a field.

15.12 Balydnesse is a flyes nest. [B 2.10] L muscarum ludibrium is literally ‘butt of jokes for flies.’ Ziolkowski notes that the attraction bald heads hold for flies is a familiar motif in fables (Solomon and Marcolf, p. 224).

15.15 And be it pease in thy vertu. [B 2.10] Psalm 121:7, “Let peace be in thy strength” ["Fiat pax in virtute tua"].

16.1–4 two women bryngyng wyth thaym a lyving chylde. [B 2.11] The famous judgment of Solomon between two women who lay claim to the same child, very much as narrated in 3 Kings 3:16–27. In 18.1–4 below, Marcolf deliberately misrepresents Solomon’s intentions toward the child as part of his campaign to make Solomon contradict his speech in praise of women.

17.3–7 Ye myghthe so be disceyved. [B 2.12] Here, as in the proverb contest, the two speakers trade conventional remarks in praise and blame of women. An excellent introduction to the primary sources of this ongoing medieval debate is Blamires, ed., Woman Defamed and Woman Defended. Versions of the saying that “Women can weep with one eye and laugh with the other” were pro­verbial in English (Whiting W538) and appear in Chaucer, Book of the Duchess, lines 633–34, and Robert Henryson, “The Testament of Cresseid” (Poems, ed. Elliott), lines 230–31. The other antifeminist sentiments Marcolf expresses here regarding women’s propensity for deceit and manipulation were also familiar in Latin and in the vernaculars. For ME examples, see Whiting W495, W498, W505, W508 and W532.

17.15–16 ‘weyke erthe’ or a ‘weyke thynge.’ [B 2.12] In Leeu’s Latin text, Solomon states that the word for woman, mulier, derives from mollis res [soft thing] (mollis aer [soft air] occurs in some manuscripts). The ME text renders mollis res with a doublet, “a ‘weyke erthe’ or a ‘weyke thynge.’” Ziolkowski (Solomon and Marcolf, p. 228) notes that Isidore of Seville, following Varro, derived mulier from mollities [softness] in his vastly influential Etymologies. Marcolf retorts that mollis error [soft mistake] would be a more apt derivation.

17.26 thinkyth wyth his herte as he spekyth wyth his mowth. [B 2.12] The thought is related to Matthew 12:34 and Luke 6:45, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” ["ex abundantia enim cordis os loquitur"].

17.28 or ye slepe ye shal dysprayse thaym. [B 2.12] Marcolf initiates the final verbal contest by boasting that Solomon will soon dispraise women as strongly as he praised them in 17.18–25. This last contest draws upon the ancient and medieval rhetorical practices of crafting arguments on both sides of an issue [in utramque partem] and composing elaborate speeches of praise and blame. Solomon will in fact deliver two more speeches on women, one of blame (21.1–7) and one of praise (23.4–10). The final speeches of blame and praise are a tissue of scriptural citations from Ecclesiasticus 25–26, quoted verbatim (or nearly so). Ecclesiasticus was attributed to Solomon in the Middle Ages, and thus the self-contradiction in which Marcolf traps Solomon in this dialogue also reveals self-contradiction in the supposed biblical writings of Solomon, another example of the work’s irreverent stance toward holy writ.

18.1–15 thou shalt have the one half of thy chylde and thy felawe the othre half . . . evyr man shall have vii wyves. [B 2.13] Marcolf’s account of Solomon’s planned injustices to women is of course a web of lies spun to goad his female subjects into rebellion against the king so that he will veer from extreme praise of women to equally extreme blame, as Marcolf has promised. The fictions Marcolf weaves in order to win this verbal contest resemble the earlier deceptions he practiced in order to exasperate his sister Fudasa into breaking her promise, thereby supporting Marcolf’s contention that a woman’s word cannot be trusted. That Solomon can only quote the culture’s central canonical text while Marcolf improvises amoral but imaginative new fictions situates the two speakers at the extremes of yet another polarity.

18.14 many great inconvenyencys shall growe thereof. [B 2.13] A softened version of the Latin "una preparabit alteri venenum" [one will prepare poison against the other].

19.4 vi thousand women. [B 2.14] Leeu’s Latin text reads septem milia mulierum [seven thousand women]. The ME print reads vi. Mi., presumably a typesetting error.

20.7 Wherefore do ye unryght? [B 2.15] The criticism of Solomon’s kingship by his infuriated female subjects echoes Marcolf’s own earlier reproofs in 5.11, 11.7, and 13.7 above. Even one of Solomon’s loyal councilors joins this chorus of criticism in 22.1–3.

20.10 For there is not that prynce . . . but that oon woman alone shall now fullfylle alle his desyres and wylle. [B 2.15] Leeu’s Latin text seems to mean that no man is so wealthy or powerful that he could fulfill in [even] one single wife [all] her desires ["qui uni soli uxori suas impleat voluntates"]. How then will he handle multiple wives? The ME text assigns the desires to the man but keeps to the point that one wife is enough for any man: no man is so wealthy or powerful that his desires cannot be met by a single woman.

20.13 youre sentences ben false and unrightfull. [B 2.15] ME “sentences” = L sentencie; in context the primary meaning is Solomon’s judicial sentences or royal proclamations, but in both languages “sentences” also applies to the prov­erbial wisdom spoken by Solomon in the proverb contest and throughout the dialogue. Since Solomon’s reputation rests on his excellence in both areas, Marcolf tricks the women into verbalizing a direct attack on Solomon’s standing as just king and wisdom figure.

20.15 now this Salomon werst of alle. [B 2.15] Another direct hit at Solomon’s prestige is this attack on his patriarchal lineage. Just as Marcolf parodies the solemn series of “begats” recited by Solomon in 4.2a by rehearsing a disreputable list of his own mock-ancestors in 4.2b, so these angry women invert the positive force of Solomon’s royal genealogy by claiming that King Saul was evil, King David worse, and King Solomon worst of all.

21.1–7 There is no hede more worse. . . wyckyd woman. [B 2.16] As our biblical citations indicate, Solomon’s attack on women is drawn mainly from Ecclesiasticus 25–26, beginning with 25:22–23, “There is no head worse than the head of a serpent: And there is no anger above the anger of a woman. It will be more agreeable to abide with a lion and a dragon, than to dwell with a wicked woman” ["Non est caput nequius super caput colubri, et non est ira super iram mulieris. Commorari leoni et draconi placebit, quam habitare cum muliere nequam"].

21.2–3 cursydnesse of a shrewd woman . . . sande fallyth in the shoes. [B 2.16] Ecclesiasticus 25:26–27, “All malice is short to the malice of a woman, let the lot of sinners fall upon her. As the climbing of a sandy way is to the feet of the aged, so is a wife full of tongue to a quiet man” ["Brevis omnis malitia super malitiam mulieris; sors peccatorum cadat super illam. Sicut ascensus arenosus in pedibus veterani, sic mulier linguata homini quieto"].

21.4 That wyf that is hir husbondes maister is evyr contrarye to hym. [B 2.16] Ecclesi­asticus 25:30, “A woman, if she have superiority, is contrary to her husband” ["Mulier si primatum habeat, contraria est viro suo"].

21.5 An evyl wyf makyth a pacient herte. [B 2.16] Ecclesiasticus 25:31, “A wicked woman abateth the courage, and maketh a heavy countenance, and a wounded heart” ["Cor humile, et facies tristis, et plaga cordis, mulier nequam"].

21.6 begynnyng of synne, and through hire we dye alle. [B 2.16] Ecclesiasticus 25:33, “From the woman came the beginning of sin, and by her we all die” ["A muliere initium factum est peccati, et per illam omnes morimur"]. At this point, Leeu’s Latin print inserts two lines from Ecclesiasticus 26:8–9; these verses are missing in the ME text: "Dolor cordis et luctus mulier zelotypa. In muliere zelotypa flagellum linguae, omnibus communicans" [A jealous woman is the grief and mourning of the heart. With a jealous woman is a scourge of the tongue which commun­icateth with all].

21.7 The woman that is luxuriouse. [B 2.16] The adjective luxuriouse [lustful] renders the implications of L fornicatio. Ecclesiasticus 26:12–14, “The fornication of a woman shall be known by the haughtiness of her eyes, and by her eyelids. . . . Take heed of the impudence of her eyes, and wonder not if she slight thee” ["Fornicatio mulieris in extollentia oculorum, et in palpebris illius agnoscetur. . . . Ab omni irreverentia oculorum ejus cave, et ne mireris si te neglexerit"].

22.5–6 Now have ye spokyn aftyr myn intent. . . alwayes ye make my saying trewe. [B 2.17] Marcolf declares victory over Solomon in their last major verbal contest.

22.9 Betwixt the yes. [B 2.17] Betwixt the yes [Between the eyes] = L in mediis oculis. Repeated in 24.1, the idiom “to see someone ‘amidst’ or ‘between’ the eyes” receives an interesting twist in the punchline to this jest in 24.12.

23.5–10 [B 2.18] Solomon’s praise of women. Like his attack in 21, his praise is a tissue of verses from Ecclesiasticus 26:3, 16–19, 21–24, some cited verbatim, some only approximate. The ME translator gives the general sense of the passage rather than a close translation. Our punctuation of the Latin text follows the Bible, insofar as it is possible.

23.5–6 For a good wyf makyth hyr husbande glad and blythe . . . a parte the lyvyng of hyre husbond. [B 2.18] Compare Ecclesiasticus 26:3, “A good wife is a good portion, she shall be given in the portion of them that fear God, to a man for his good deeds” ["Pars bona mulier bona, in parte timentium Deum dabitur viro pro factis bonis"].

23.6–7 hyr lernyng advauntagyth or forthryth hys body. She is a yifte of God. [B 2.18] The ME text follows the Latin in making disciplina the subject of impinguabit [will fatten]. L disciplina here is “discipline” rather than “lernyng,” as is clear from Ecclesiasticus 26:16–17, “The grace of a diligent woman shall delight her husband, and shall fat his bones. Her discipline is the gift of God” ["gratia mulieris sedulae delectabit virum suum, et ossa illius impinguabit. Disciplina illius datum Dei est"].

23.7 A wyse wyf and a stylle is a grace aboven graces. [B II.18] The line telescopes Ecclesiasticus 26:18–19, “Such is a wise and silent woman, and there is nothing so much worth as a well instructed soul. A holy and shamefaced woman is grace upon grace” ["Mulier sensata et tacita; non est inmutatio eruditae animae. Gratia super gratiam mulier sancta et pudorata"].

23.8–10 the sonne clymmyng up to God. . . ornament or apparayle of the house. . . lyght shynyng bryghther. . . lyke the goolden pyller. . . the commandemantys of God evyr in hyr mynde [B 2.18]. Ecclesiasticus 26:21–24, “As the sun when it riseth to the world in the high places of God, so is the beauty of a good wife for the ornament of her house. As the lamp shining upon the holy candlestick, so is the beauty of the face in a ripe age. As golden pillars upon bases of silver, so are the firm feet upon the soles of a steady woman. As everlasting foundations upon a solid rock, so the commandments of God in the heart of a holy woman” ["Sicut sol oriens mundo in altissimis Dei, sic mulieris bonae species in ornamentum domus ejus. Lucerna splendens super candelabrum sanctum, et species faciei super aetatem stabilem. Columnae aureae super bases argenteas, et pedes firmi super plantas stabilis mulieris. Fundamenta aeterna super petram solidam, et mandata Dei in corde mulieris sanctae"].

24.2–3 a great snowe. [B 2.19] This heavy snowfall, accepted as a matter of course by Solomon and his councilors, is incongruous with the supposed setting in biblical Jerusalem but consistent with Marcolf’s identity as a European peasant. Clearly the sieve and bear paw, like the reversed shoes, are meant to confuse Solomon and his men as they hunt Marcolf, tracking him like an animal. Why he chooses a sieve and bear paw in particular is not explained, but the use of one very human implement and one animal paw suggests the ambiguity of Marcolf’s humanity evident from the opening description of him, with its many animal comparisons. The repeated application of the word beste to Marcolf emphasizes this ambiguity: “lyke a beste” (24.3), “a merveylous beste” (24.5), “the sayd wondrefull beeste” (24.6).

24.8 Hys vysage from hymwardes. [B 2.19] That is, the bent-over Marcolf faces away from Solomon, who is thus confronted with “hys arshole and alle hys othre fowle gere.” Without spoiling the joke, the ME text bowdlerizes mildly the corresponding Latin text: "nates, et culus, et curgulio, et testiculi" [cheeks, and arsehole, and penis, and testicles]. Citing J. N. Adams, The Latin Sexual Vocabulary (London: Duckworth, 1982), pp. 33–34, Ziolkowski (Solomon and Marcolf, p. 240) notes that curculio [corn weevil] is used of the penis in Persius, Satires 4.38. The Venetian vernacular print edited by Quinto Marini bowd­lerizes this passage in a manner similar to the ME text: “le nateghe, el culo e li membra deshoneste” (Il dialogo di Salomone e Marcolfo, p. 135).

25.2–6 yeve me leve to chose the tre wherupon that I shalle hange. [B 2.20] Marcolf’s last jest, yet another verbal quibble, saves his life.

25.7-8 And thus he askapyd out of the dawnger and handes of King Salomon. [B 2.20] Benary’s text ends with the Latin equivalent of this statement: "Et sic Marcolfus evasit manus regis Salomonis." Ziolkowski aptly calls this abrupt ending “the opposite of closure” (Solomon and Marcolf, p. 6); Marcolf simply escapes from his most recent predicament. Interestingly, texts in the print tradition add another clause to give not just closure but a happy ending to Marcolf’s adventures: "Post hoc domum remeans quievit in pace" (“And turnyd ayen unto hys howse, and levyd in pease and joye”), the “joye” an addition on the part of the ME translator. The prayer for the salvation of the author and reader appended to the ME text is a common addition to the endings of nonreligious texts such as metrical romances.


Abbreviations: see Explanatory Notes

The typographical errors silently corrected in the text are listed below with our correction first and then the reading in Leeu’s print. Misset letters in the Middle English text (either overturned or reversed) are indicated by italics.

Webmaster's note: The 5 Latin notes have been integrated into the list of Middle English emendations.

Title betwixt: betwxt

Incipit but (overturned u)

2.1 This: Thls

2.5 of a goet: ef a goet

3.4 yren (overturned n)

3.5 She: Se

4.1b thereto: thereo
declare you (overturned u)

4.2b Rustum (overturned u)

4.2c that gat: tha gat

4.3a altercacion: altercacon

4.4a answere: vnswere
Latin 4.4a nominatissimus: nominatissimua

4.6a yave: yawe

4.8b potfull (overturned u)

4.10a shal be: shabbe
Latin 4.10a ipsa: ipsam

4.19b an axe (overturned n)

4.21b his: is

4.25a stronge: strõgr
thou: thau

4.27a thou (overturned u)

4.28b the bren: te bren

4.32a maister: maist

4.32b that she: thath she
hath: hat

4.34a counsell (overturned u)

4.38b more: moee

4.42a the wycked: he wycked

4.42b bothe (overturned h)

4.43a he beggyd: be heggyd

4.50a and (overturned n)

4.51b the oke: te oke

4.52a therefore: trefore

4.55a bellys: beliys

4.62a shewyth (overturned h)

4.64a mercyfull: meycyfull

4.65a the wolf: te wolf

4.74a Juda: Iuda (overturned u)
me: ñ

4.78b shepherde: shephde

4.82b wyves: wyues (overturned u)

4.83a S: Salo (overturned S)

4.90a spekyng (overturned n)

5.1 Marcolf (overturned r)
governaunce: gouernañee
kynges: kyges

5.6 Nenthur (overturned n)
Latin 5.6 Hommia: bommia

5.9 than (overturned n)

5.10 Tho: To

5.11 king: kipg

6.1 and fortunyd (overturned n)

6.6 declyned: declynedy

6.8 demaunded (overturned n)

7.4 feyre: fayre

8.2 lengyr (overturned n)

8.17 chaungyd: chamigyd

8.19 anoynted: anyonted

9.2 Marcolph: maccolph (first occurrence)

9.4 thou (overturned u)

9.9 to rowte: te rowte

9.10 th’erthe: therhe

9.11 Ye: Ie

9.14 shal be: shalne (overturned and reversed n for b)

9.16 Marcolph: Marcoph

10.2 injuries (overturned u)

10.4 in any wyse (overturned n)

10.6 than: tha

10.7 retournyd (overturned u, overturned n)

11.1 illumined (overturned u)

11.2 in his tayle (overturned n)
nombredyd: nombredys

11.4 and closyd (overturned n)

11.9 Nevyrthelesse: Nevyrhtelesse

12.5 fote: bote

12.6 of: af

12.11 bothe: bote

12.12 Marcolph: Marcoph

Latin 12.13 Fudasa: Fudasia

12.14 parte: parthe

12.16 Fudasa: omitted
Latin 12.16 Fudasa: Fudasia

13.4 she (second occurrence): he

13.8 thus (overturned u)

15.3 Marcolf: Marcof

15.8 Salomon: Saolmon

15.11 aught (overturned u)
but (overturned u)

15.14 ballyd: bailyd

15.15 vertu (overturned u)
shal: shai

16.4 naturall modyr: naturall bodyr
yeve: jeve

17.6 but (overturned u)

17.10 suche (overturned u)

17.19 withoute: whitoute

17.23 dilectacioun: dilectacõn

or joye: of joye

17.25 withhoute: whithoute

18.1 Marcolphus: Marcolphue

18.3 Marcolph: Marcoph

18.5 Marcolph: Marcoph

18.11 What shall than (overturned n)

18.13 The othyr shall nowe: The othyr shall mowe
They shal nowe: They shal mowe
maydenhede: mayndehede

19.4 so: se

20.2 to you: tho you

20.3 as many as: as asmany as

20.6 She answeryd: omitted

20.7 thane (overturned n)

20.9 nowe: mowe

20.10 now: mow

20.13 reason (overturned n)
and unrightfull (overturned n)

20.14 skorne (overturned n)

21.1 dwelle: dvelle

21.2 lytyl to: lytyl tho

21.4 hir: hlr

21.5 is as: it as

22.9 no more: nomere

23.8 condicyons (overturned c)

23.10 fundament (overturned u)
wythoute (overturned u)

23.11 you and (overturned n)
kynderede: kyndrebede

24.1 Marcolph: Marcoph

24.3 in the (overturned n)
that stode: tyat stode

24.5 a merveylous beste: & merveylous beste

24.6 beeste and (overturned n)

24.8 Marcolphus: Marcolpus
he myght: be myght

24.12 commaunded (overturned u)

25.2 will: well

25.4 thens (overturned n)
Jericho: ierirho

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The Dialogue of Solomon and Marcolf





(1) Here begynneth the dyalogus or comynicacion betwixt Salomon the king of Jherusalem and Marcolphus that right rude and great of body was but right subtyll and wyse of wyt and full of undrestandyng, as thereafter folowyng men shall here.

(1) Cum staret Salomon super solium David patris sui, plenus sapiencia et diviciis, (2) vidit quendam hominem Marcolphum nomine a parte orientis venientem, facie turpissimum et deformem et tamen eloquentissimum. (3) Uxor ejus erat cum eo, que nimis erat terribilis et rustica. (4) Cum eos ambos conspectui suo pariter exhiberi jussisset, stabant ambo ante eum se mutuo conspicientes.
(1) Upon a season hertofore as King Salomon, full of wisdome and richesse, sate upon the kinges sete or stole that was his fadres Davyd, (2) sawe comyng a man out of th’este that was named Marcolphus, of vysage greatly myshapen and fowle, nevyrthelesse he was right talkatyf, elloquend and wyse. (3) His wif had he wyth hym, whiche was more ferefull and rude to beholde. (4) And as they were bothe comen before King Salomon, he behelde thaym welle.

(1) Statura itaque Marcolphi fuit brevis et grossa. (2) Caput habuit grande, frontem latissimam, rubicundam et rugosam, aures pilosas et usque ad medium maxillarum pendentes, (3) oculos grossos et lipposos, labium subcominus quasi caballinum, barbam sordidam et setosam quasi hyrci, (4) manus truncas, digitos breves et grossos, pedes rotundos, (5) nasum spissum et gibbosum, labia magna et grossa, faciem azininam, capillos veluti hyrcorum. (6) Calciamenta pedum ejus rustica erant nimis, pannitiosa atque lutosa pellis; (7) curta tunica usque ad nates, calige repagulate, vestimenta ejus coloris turpissimi erant.
(1) This Marcolf was of short stature and thykke. (2) The hede had he great, a brode forhede rede and fulle of wrinkelys or frouncys, his erys hery and to the myddys of chekys hangyng, (3) great yes and rennyng, his nether lyppe hangyng lyke an horse, a berde harde and fowle lyke unto a goet, (4) the handes short and blockyssh, his fyngres great and thycke, rownde feet, (5) and the nose thycke and croked, a face lyke an asse, and the here of hys heed lyke the heer of a goet. (6) His shoes on his fete were ovyrmoche chorlysh and rude, and his clothys fowle and dyrty; (7) a shorte kote to the buttockys, his hasyn hynge full of wrynkelys and alle his clothes were of the moost fowle coloure.
N1; T1
(1) Uxor quoque ejus erat pusilla et nimis grossa cum mammis grossis. Comam habebat spinosam, (2) supercilia longa, setosa et acuta quasi dorsum porci, barbam ut habet hyrcus, aures asininas, oculos lipposos, aspectum colubrinum, (3) carnem rugosam et nigram, et massa de plumbo ornabat grossas mammas ejus. (4) Digitos habebat breves ornatos anulis ferreis. (5) Nares habebat valde grandes, tibias breves et grossas, in modum urse pilosas; (6) tunica ejus erat pilosa et dirupta. (7) De tali quidem muliere quidam juvenis hos dixit versus:
Femina deformis tenebrarum subdita formis
Cum turpi facie transit absque die.
Est mala res multum turpi concedere cultum,
Sed turpis nimirum turpe ferat vitium.

(1) His wyf was of short stature, and she was out of mesure thycke wyth great brestys, and the here of hyr hede clustred lyke thystelys. (2) She had longe wynde browes lyke brostelys of a swyne, longe erys lyke an asse, renning yen, berdyd lyke a goet; (3) hyr vysage and skyn blacke and full of wrynkelys, and upon hyr great brestys she had, of span brode, a broche of leed. (4) She had short fyngres, full of yren ryngys. (5) She had right great nosethrylles, hyr leggys short and hery lyke a bere; (6) hyr clothes were rough and broken. (7) Of suche a woman, or of anothre lyke unto hyre, a yonge man hath made thies verses folowyng:
Femina deformis tenebrarum subdita formis
Cum turpi facie transit absque die.
Est mala res multum turpi concedere cultum,
Sed turpis nimirum turpe ferat vicium.
(8) That is to saye, an evyll favouryd and a fowle blacke wyf behovyth to shewe the dayes lyght. It is to oure yes medycyne to se that fayre is and fyne.
[B Dialogus]
4. (1a)    [R]ex vero Salomon, cum eos conspexisset, sic exorsus est dicens: “Qui estis et unde est genus vestrum?” As Kyng Salomon thies two persones thus had seen and beholden, he demaunded of thaym of whens they weryn and of what lynage they were comyn. (N1a)
   (1b)    Marcolphus respondit: “Dic tu nobis prius genealogiam tuam et patrum tuorum, et tunc indicabo tibi genus nostrum.” [B 1ab] Marcolphus thereto answeryd: “Saye furste to us youre kynrede and genleagie, and of youre fadres, and than shall I shewe and declare you of oures.” (T1b)
   (2a)    Salomon: “Ego sum de duodecim generibus patriarcharum: Judas genuit Phares, Phares genuit Esron, Esron genuit Aram, Ara genuit Aminadab, Aminadab genuit Naazon, Naazon genuit Salmon, Salmon genuit Boos, Boos genuit Obeth, Obeth genuit Isay, Isai genuit David regem, David autem genuit Salomonem, et ego sum Salomon rex.” Salomon: “I am of the xii kyndredes of patryarkes, that is to wete, that Judas gate Phares, Phares gat Esron, Esron gat Aron, Aron genderyd Aminadab, Aminadab gat Naazon, Naazon gat Salmon, Salmon gat Boos, Boos gat Obeth, Obeth gat Ysay, Ysay gat Davyd king, David gat Salomon the king, and that am I.” (N2a)
   (2b)    Marcolphus respondit: “Ego sum de duodecim generibus rusticorum: Rusticus genuit Rustam, Rusta genuit Rustum, Rustus genuit Rusticellum, Rusticellus genuit Tarcum, Tarcus genuit Tarcol, Tarcol genuit Pharsi, Pharsi genuit Marcuel, Marcuel genuit Marquart, Marquart genuit Marcolphum, et ego sum Marcolphus follus.” Marcolfus answeryd: “I am of the xii kindred of chorlys: Rusticus gat Rustam, Rusta gat Rustum, Rustus gat Rusticellum, Rusticellus gat Tarcum, Tarcus gat Tarcol, Tarcol gat Pharsi, Pharsi gat Marcuel, Marcuel gat Marquat, Marquat gat Marcolphum and that is I. (N2b); (T2b)
   (2c)    “Uxor vero mea de duodecim generibus lupicanarum: Lupica genuit Lupicanam, Lupicana genuit Ludiprag, Ludiprag genuit Bonestrung, Bonestrung genuit Boledrut, Boledrut genuit Pladrut, Pladrut genuit Lordam, Lorda genuit Curtam, Curta genuit Curtulam, Curtula genuit Curtellam, Curtella genuit Policam, Polica genuit Policanam, et hec est Policana uxor mea.” [B 2abc] “And my wyf is comen of the blood and xii kyndredes of untydy wyves, that is to knowe, of Lupica that gat Lupicana, Lupicana gat Ludibrac, Ludibrac gat Bonestrung, Bonestrung gat Boledrut, Boledrut gat Paldrut, Paldrut gat Lordan, Lordan gat Curta, Curta gat Curtula, Curtula gat Curtella, Curtella gat Polica, Polica gat Polycana, and thys is my wyf Polycana.” (N2c); (T2c)
   (3a)    Salomon dixit: “Audivi te esse verbosum et callidum, quamvis sis rusticus et turpis. Quamobrem inter nos habeamus altercationem. Ego vero te interrogabo, tu vero subsequens responde mihi.” Salomon sayde: “I have herd of thee that thou kanst right wele clatre and speke, and that thou art subtyle of wyt, although that thou be mysshapyn and chorlyssh. Lete us have betwene us altercacion. I shal make questyons to thee, and thou shalt therto answere.” (T3a); (N3a)
   (3b)    Marcolphus respondit: “Qui male cantat, primo incipiat.” [B 3ab] Marcolphus answeryd: “He that singyth worste begynne furste.” (N3b)
   (4a)    S: “Si per omnia poteris respondere sermonibus meis, te ditabo magnis opibus, et nominatissimus eris in regno meo.” S: “If thou kanst answere to alle my questyons, I shall make thee ryche, and be named above alle othre withyn my reaume.” (N4a); (T4a)
   (4b)    M: “Promittit medicus sanitatem, cum non habet potestatem.” [B 4ab] M: “The phisician promysyth the seeke folke helthe, whan he hath no power.”
   (5a)    S: “Bene judicavi inter duas meretrices, que in una domo oppresserant infantem.” S: “I have juged betwixt two light women, whiche dwellyd in oon house and forlaye a chylde.” (N5a)
   (5b)    M: “Ubi sunt aures ibi sunt cause, ubi mulieres ibi parabole.” [B 5ab] M: “Were erys are there are causes, where women be there are wordys.” (N5b)
   (6a)    S: “Dominus dedit sapientiam in ore meo, cum nullus sit mihi similis in cunctis finibus terre.” S: “God yave wysdam in my mouth, for me lyke is none in alle partys of the worlde.” (N6a); (T6a)
   (6b)    M: “Qui malos vicinos habet seipsum laudat.” [B 6ab] M: “He that hath evyll neighborys praysyth hymself.” (N6b)
   (7a)    S: “Fugit impius nemine subsequente.” S: “The wykkyd man fleyth, no man folwyng.” (N7a)
   (7b)    M: “Quando fugit capriolus, albescit ejus culus.” [B 7ab] M: “Whan the kydde rennyth, men may se his ars.” (N7b)
   (8a)    S: “Bona mulier et pulchra ornamentum est viro suo.” S: “A good wyf and a fayre is to hir husbonde a pleasure.” (N8a)
   (8b)    M: “Olla plena cum lacte bene debet a catto custodiri.” [B 8ab] M: “A potfull of mylke muste be kept wele from the katte.” (N8b); (T8b)
   (9a)    S: “Mulier sapiens edificat sibi domum, insipiens constructam destruit manibus.” S: “A wyse woman byldeth an house, and she that unwyse and a fool is, distroyeth with hir handes that she fyndeth made.” (N9a)
   (9b)    M: “Olla bene cocta melius durat et qui mundam distemperat mundam bibit.” [B 10ab] M: “A pot that is wele baken may best endure, and that clene is browyn that may they fayre drinken.” (N9b)
   (10a)    S: “Mulier timens deum ipsa laudabitur.” S: “A ferdefull woman shal be praysed.” (N10a); (T10a)
   (10b)    M: “Cattus cum bona pelle ipse excoriabitur.” [B 11ab] M: “A catte that hath a good skyn shal be flayne.” (N10b)
   (11a)    S: “Mulier pudica est multum amanda.” S: “A shamefast wyf and a fayre is mekyll to be belovyd.”
   (11b)    M: “Lacticinia sunt pauperi retinenda.” [B 12ab] M: “To pore men whyte mete are to be kept.” (N11b)
   (12a)    S: “Mulierem fortem quis inveniet?” S: “A woman stronge in doyng good, who shall fynde?” (N12a)
   (12b)    M: “Cattum fidelem super lac quis inveniet?” [B 13ab] M: “Who shal fynde a catte trewe in kepyng mylke?”
   (12c)    S: “Nullus.” S: “Noon.”
   (12d)    M: “Et mulierem raro.” [B 13cd] M: “And a woman seldom.”
   (13a)    S: “Mulier formosa et honesta retinenda est super omnia desiderabilia bona.” S: “A fayre woman and an honest is to be praysed above alle rychesse that a man fynde may.”
   (13b)    M: “Mulier pinguis et grossa est largior in dando visa.” [B 14ab] M: “A fat woman and a great is larger in yevyng than othre.” (N13b)
   (14a)    S: “Bene peplum album in capite mulieris.” S: “A whyt kerchyf becomth wele a womans hede.”
   (14b)    M: “Scriptum est enim, ‘Non sunt talia manice quales pellicia; sub albo peplo sepe latet tinea.”’ [B 16ab] M: “It standyth wryten that the furre is not all lyke the slevys, and undre a whyte cloth often are hyd mothys.” (N14b)
   (15a)    S: “Qui seminat iniquitatem metet mala.” S: “He that sowyth wyckydnesse shal repe evyll.” (N15ab)
   (15b)    M: “Qui seminat paleas metet miserias.” [B 17ab] M: “He that sowyth chaf shal porely mowe.”
   (16a)    S: “Doctrina et sapientia debet in ore sanctorum consistere.” S: “Out of the mouth of a holy man shal come good lernyng and wysedom.”
   (16b)    M: “Asellus semper debet esse ubi se pascit, ibi crescit. Ubi pascit unam plantam, quadraginta resumit; ubi caccat ibi fimat; ubi mingit ibi rigat; ubi se volvit frangit glebas.” [B 19ab] M: “The asse behovyth to be allweye where he fedyth, for ther it growyth. Where he etyth oon gres, there growe xl ayen; where he dungyth, there it fattyth; where he pyssyth, there makyth he wete; and where he wallowyth, there brekyth he the strawe.” (N16b)
   (17a)    S: “Laudet te alienus.” S: “Lete an othre preyse thee.” (N17a)
   (17b)    M: “Si meipsum vituperavero, nulli unquam placebo.” [B 20ab] M: “Yf I shulde myself dyspreyse, no man shall I please.”
   (18a)    S: “Multum mel ne comedas.” S: “Thou shalt ete moche ony.” (N18a)
   (18b)    M: “Qui apes castrat, digitum suum lingit.” [B 23ab] M: “That beys dryve lykke faste theyre fyngres.”
   (19a)    S: “In malivolam animam non intrabit spiritus sapientie.” S: “In an evylle wylled herte the spyryt of wysedome shalle not entre.” (N19a)
   (19b)    M: “In lignum durum dum mittis cuneum, cave ne incidat in oculum.” [B 24ab] M: “As ye smyte wyth an axe in an hard tre, beware that the chippes falle not in youre ye.” (N19b); (T19b)
   (20a)    S: “Durum est tibi contra stimulum recalcitrare.” S: “It is hard to spurne ayenst the sharp prykyl.” (N20a)
   (20b)    M: “Bos recalcitrosus pungi debet vicibus binis.” [B 25ab] M: “The ox that drawyth bacwarde shal be twyse prycked.”
   (21a)    S: “Erudi filium tuum et ab infantia doce eum benefacere.” S: “Fede up youre children and from thayre youthe lerne thaym to do welle.” (N21a)
   (21b)    M: “Qui suam nutrit vaccam, de lacte sepe manducat.” [B 35ab] M: “He that fedyth well his cowe etyth often of the mylke.” (T21b)
   (22a)    S: “Omne genus ad suam naturam revertitur.” S: “All maner kyndes turne ayen to theyre furste nature.”
   (22b)    M: “Mappa digesta revertitur ad stuppam.” [B 37ab] M: “A worne tabyllcloth turnyth ayen to his furste kynde.” (N22b)
   (23a)    S: “Quicquid novit loquitur judex justicie et veritatis.” S: “What the juge knowyth of right and trouthe that spekyth he out.” (N23a)
   (23b)    M: “Episcopus tacens efficitur hostiarius.” [B 39ab] M: “A bisshop that spekyth not is made a porter of a yate.” (N23b)
   (24a)    S: “Honor exhibendus est magistro, et virga timenda.” S: “Honoure is to be yeven to the maistre, and the rodde to be feryd.” (N24a)
   (24b)    M: “Qui suo judici solet ungere buccam, solet macerare suam azellam.” [B 41ab] M: “He that is wonte to anointe the juges handes oftyn tymes he makyth his asse lene.” (N24b)
   (25a)    S: “Contra hominem fortem et potentem et aquam currentem noli contendere.” S: “Ayenst a stronge and myghty man thou shalt not fyghte, ne stryve ayenst the streme.” (N25a); (T25a)
   (25b)    M: “Vultur excoriat duram volucrem deplumatque pellem.” [B 43ab] M: “The vultier takyth the skyn of stronge fowles and makyth thaym neked of theyre fethres.” (N25b)
   (26a)    S: “Emendemus in melius quod ignoranter peccavimus.” S: “Lete us amende us in good that unwythyngly we have mysdone.”
   (26b)    M: “Quando culum tergis nil aliud agis.” [B 44ab] M: “As a man wypyth his ars he doth nothing ellys.”
   (27a)    S: “Blandis persuasionibus noli decipere quenquam.” S: “Wyl thou not disceyve any man wyth fayre word?” (T27a)
   (27b)    M: “Per ingenium manducat qui manducantem salutat.” [B 45ab] M: “By wyt he etyth that gretyth the ether.” (N27b)
   (28a)    S: “Cum homine litigioso non habeas societatem.” S: “Wyth brawlyng people holde no companye.” (N28a)
   (28b)    M: “Merito hunc manducant sues, qui se miscet inter furfures.” [B 47ab] M: “It is reson that he of the swyne ete that medlyth amonge the bren.” (N28b); (T28b)
   (29a)    S: “Multi sunt qui verecundiam habere nesciunt.” S: “There be many that kan have no shame.”
   (29b)    M: “Vivunt cum hominibus qui similes sunt canibus.” [B 49ab] M: “They lyve undre the men that are lyke to howndes.”
   (30a)    S: “Multi sunt qui benefacientibus reddunt mala pro bonis.” S: “There are many that to theyr good doers do evyl for good.” (N30a)
   (30b)    M: “Qui alieno cani panem suum dederit, mercedem non habebit.” [B 50ab] M: “He that yevyth bred to anothre manys hownde shall have no thanke.”
   (31a)    S: “Non est amicus qui non durat in amicicia.” S: “It is no frende that dureyth not in frendeshyp.” (N31a)
   (31b)    M: “Merda de vitulo non diu fimat.” [B 51ab] M: “The dung of a calf stynkyth not longe.”
   (32a)    S: “Occasiones multas querit qui ab amico recedere velit.” S: “He sekyth many occasions that wolle departe from his maister.” (N32a); (T32a)
   (32b)    M: “Mulier que non vult consentire dicit se scabiosum culum habere.” [B 52ab] M: “A woman that wolle not consente seyth that she hath a skabbyd arse.” (N32b); (T32b)
   (33a)    S: “Sermo regis debet esse immutabilis.” S: “A kynges worde shulde be unchaungeable or stedfaste.”
   (33b)    M: “Cito tedium habet qui cum lupo arat.” [B 53ab] M: “He is sone wery that plowyth wyth a wolf.” (N33b)
   (34a)    S: “Radices raphani bone sunt in convivio, fetent in consilio.” S: “The radissh rotys are good mete but they stynke in the counsell.” (N34ab); (T34a)
   (34b)    M: “Qui raphanum manducat, ex utraque parte tussit.” [B 54ab] M: “He that etyth radyssh rotys coughyth above and undyr.”
   (35a)    S: “Perit auditus, ubi non vigilat sensus.” S: “It is lost that is spokyn afore people that undrestande not what they here.”
   (35b)    M: “Perdit suam sagittam qui tripum sagittat.” [B 56ab] M: “He lesyth his shafte that shetyth in the sande.” (N35b)
   (36a)    S: “Qui avertit aurem suam a clamore pauperum, ipse clamabit et dominus deus non exaudiet vocem suam.” S: “He that stoppyth his erys from the crying of the pore people, oure Lord God shall not here hym.” (N36a)
   (36b)    M: “Perdit lachrimas suas qui coram judice plorat.” [B 57ab] M: “He that wepyth afore a juge lesyth his terys.”
   (37a)    S: “Surge, aquilo, et veni, auster, perfla ortum meum, et fluent aromata illius.” S: “Ryse up, thou northren wynde, and come forth, thou southren wynde, and blowe through my gardeyne, and the wele smellyng herbys shalle growe and multiplie.” (N37ab)
   (37b)    M: “Quando fluit aquilo, ruit alta domus,
Et qui habet hirnia non est bene sanus.” [B 58ab]
M: “Whanne the northren wyndes blowe, than ben the high howses in great trouble and daunger.”
   (38a)    S: “Mortem et paupertatem celare noli.” S: “The deth nor povertye wyll not be hyd.”
   (38b)    M: “Cui celat hirniam, crescunt ibi majora.” [B 59ab] M: “A man that is brostyn and hyde it, they growe the more.” (N38b); (T38b)
   (39a)    S: “Cum sederis ad mensam divitis, diligenter inspice que apponantur tibi.” S: “As thou syttyst at a riche mans table, beholde diligently what comyth afore thee.” (N39a)
   (39b)    M: “Universa ministratio per ventrem dirigitur et in ventrem vadit.” [B 63ab] M: “Alle metys that is ordeyned for the body muste through the bely, and it goth in the stomak.”
   (40a)    S: “Quando ad mensam sederis, cave ne prius comedas!” S: “Whan thou syttyst at the tabyll, beware that thou taste not furst.” (N40a)
   (40b)    M: “Qui in altiori sella sederit, ipse primum locum tenet.” [B 64ab] M: “He that syttyth in the hyghest sete, he holdyth the uppermost place.”
   (41a)    S: “Si fortis supervicerit imbecillem, universam substantiam aufert ejus domus.” S: “As the stronge the weyke wynneth, he takyth all that he hath.”
   (41b)    M: “Bene videt cattus cui barbam lingit voluntariam.” [B 65ab] M: “The catte seeth wele whoos berde she lycke shall.” (N41b)
   (42a)    S: “Quod timet impius veniet super eum.” S: “That the wycked feryth, that fallyth hym often.” (N42a); (T42a)
   (42b)    M: “Qui male facit et bene sperat, totum se fallit.” [B 67ab] M: “He that doth evylle and hopyth good is disceyvyd in thaym bothe.” (T42b)
   (43a)    S: “Propter frigus piger arare noluit; mendicabit autem et nil dabitur ei.” S: “For the colde the slouthfull wolde not go to plough; he beggyd his brede, and no man wolde hym yeve.” (N43a); (T43a)
   (43b)    M: “Nudum culum nemo spoliabit.” [B 68ab] M: “A nakyd ars no man kan robbe or dispoyle.” (N43b)
   (44a)    S: “Studium reddit magistrum benivolum.” S: “Studye makyth a maystre wele wylled.”
   (44b)    M: “Assuete manus currunt ad caldarium.” [B 73ab] M: “Th’andys that are usyd in the fyre fere not the ketylle.”
   (45a)    S: “Projiciendi sunt a consortio bonorum litigiosi et garruli.” S: “Brawlers and janglers are to be kaste out of alle good companye.”
   (45b)    M: “Domina irata, fumus, et ratta, patella perforata damnum sunt in casa.” [B 75ab] M: “An angry howsewyf, the smoke, the ratte, and a broken plater are often tymes unprofytable in an howse.” (N45b)
   (46a)    S: “Pro amore dei omnis dilectio est adhibenda.” S: “For Goddys love men are bownden to love othre.”
   (46b)    M: “Si amas illum qui te non amat, perdis amorem tuum.” [B 79ab] M: “If thou love hym that lovyth not thee, thou lesyth thyn love.”
   (47a)    S: “Ne dicas amico tuo ‘vade, cras dabo tibi’, cum statim possis sibi dare.” S: “Saye not to thy frende, ‘Come tomorowe, I shal yeve thee,’ that thou maiste forthwyth yeve hym.” (N47a)
   (47b)    M: “‘Ad tempus faciam’ dicit qui non habet aptum utensile.” [B 80ab] M: “He sayth an othre tyme he shalle doo it, that hath noth wherwyth redy for to do it withalle.”
   (48a)    S: “Crapulatus a vino non servat tempus in eloquio.” S: “He that is wyne dronken holdyth nothing that he sayth.” (N48a)
   (48b)    M: “Culus confractus non habet dominum.” [B 82ab] M: “An opyn arse hath no lord.” (N48b)
   (49a)    S: “Multi concupiscunt divicias habere, cum sint in paupertate detenti.” S: “Many coveyte to have rychesse that with povertye are holden undre.”
   (49b)    M: “Prande quod habes, et vide quid remaneat.” [B 83ab] M: “Ete that ye have, and se what shall remaigne.”
   (50a)    S: “Multi sunt qui famem sustinent et tamen sustinent uxores.” S: “There are many that susteyne hungyr, and yet fede they theyre wyves.” (T50a)
   (50b)    M: “Miser homo panem non habebat, et tamen canem sibi comparabat.” [B 84ab] M: “The pore had ne breed and yet he bought an hownde.” (N50b)
   (51a)    S: “Stultus respondit secundum suam stulticiam, ne videatur sapiens.” S: “The fole answeryth aftyr hys folisshnes, for that he shulde not be knowyn wyse.” (N51a)
   (51b)    M: “Petra quid audivit, cui respondit quercus.” [B 85ab] M: “What the stone heryth, that shalle the oke answere.” (N51b); (T51b)
   (52a)    S: “Ira non habet misericordiam, et ideo qui per iram loquitur, comparat malum seu perpetrat.” S: “Wrathe hath no mercy, and therefore he that angrely spekyth beyth evyle or shrewdly.” (N52a); (T52a)
   (52b)    M: “Ne dicas amico tuo malum iratus, ne postea peniteas placatus.” [B 86ab] M: “Saye not in thyn angre to thy frende no evyl, lest thou forthynke it aftreward.”
   (53a)    S: “Os inimici non loquitur veritatem, nec verum labia ejus personabunt.” S: “The mouthe of an ennemye kan saye no good, ne hys lyppys shall sownde no trouthe.” (N53a)
   (53b)    M: “Qui te non amat, ipse te non diffamat.” [B 87ab] M: “He that lovyth me not doth not diffame me.”
   (54a)    S: “Quid satis est dormi.” S: “Slepe as ye have nede.” (N54a)
   (54b)    M: “Cui licet et non dormit, pigritia nocet illi.” [B 92ab] M: “He that leyth hym downe to slepe and kan not is not at his hertys ease.”
   (55a)    S: “Sacietate repleti sumus, referamus deo gratias.” S: “We have well fyllyd oure bellys, lete us thanke God.” (N55ab); (T55a)
   (55b)    M: “Jubilat merulus, respondit graculus; non equaliter cantant saturatus et jejunus.” [B 93ab] M: “As the owsell whystelyth, so answeryth the thrusshe; the hungery and the fulle synge not oon songe.”
   (56a)    S: “Manducemus et bibemus, omnes enim moriemur.” S: “Lete us ete and drinke; we shall alle deye.”
   (56b)    M: “Sic moritur famelicus, sicut et refectus.” [B 94ab] M: “The hungery dyeth as wele as the full fedd.”
   (57a)    S: “Quando homo harpat, non potest palogisare.” S: “As a man playeth upon an harpe, he kan not wele indicte.” (N57a)
   (57b)    M: “Quando canis cacat, non potest latrare.” [B 95ab] M: “So whan the hownde shytyth, he berkyth noth.”
   (58a)    S: “Saciata est iniquitas ventris; nunc eamus dormitum.” S: “The wretchyd wombe is full; go we now to bedde.”
   (58b)    M: “Tornat, retornat, male dormit, qui non manducat.” [B 96ab] M: “He turnyth and walowyth and slepyth evyl that hath not for to ete.”
   (59a)    S: “Exiguum munus, cum dat tibi pauper amicus, noli despicere.” S: “Dyspyse thou not a lytyll yifte that is yeven thee of a trewe frende.” (N59a)
   (59b)    M: “Quod habet castratus dat vicine sue.” [B 97ab] M: “That a geldyd man hath, that yevyth he to his neigborwes.” (N59b)
   (60a)    S: “Ne gradieris cum homine malo vel litigioso, ne forte senties malum propter eum vel periculum.” S: “Go thou not wyth the evyll man or the brawelyng, lest thou suffre evyll for hym or peryle.” (N60a)
   (60b)    M: “Apis mortua non caccat mel.” [B 99ab] M: “A dede bee makyth no hony.” (N60b)
   (61a)    S: “Si cum homine callido vel malivolo amiciciam firmaveris, magis tibi adversabitur quam auxilium prestet.” S: “If thou make frendeshipe with a false and evylwylled man, it shal hyndre thee more than proffyte.” (N61a)
   (61b)    M: “Quod lupus facit, lupe placet.” [B 100ab] M: “What the wolf doth, that pleasyth the wolfesse.”
   (62a)    S: “Qui ante respondit quam audiat, stultum se demonstrat.” S: “He that answeryth afore he is demaundyd shewyth hymself a fole.” (N62a); (T62a)
   (62b)    M: “Quando te aliquis pungit, subtrahe pedem tuum.” [B 101ab] M: “Whan a man tredyth, drawe to you youre fete.” (N62b)
   (63a)    S: “Omne animal simile sibi eligit.” S: “Evrything chesyth his lyke.” (N63ab)
   (63b)    M: “Ubi fuerit caballus scabiosus parem sibi querit, et utrique se scabiunt.” [B 102ab] M: “Where a skabbyd horse is, he sekyth his lyke and eyther of thaym gnappyth othre.”
   (64a)    S: “Benefacit anime sue ubi est homo misericors.” S: “A mercyfull man doth wele to his sowle.” (N64a); (T64a)
   (64b)    M: “Magnum donum despicit qui seipsum non cognoscit.” [B 103ab] M: “He dyspyseth a great yifte that knowyth not hymself.” (N64b)
   (65a)    S: “Qui fugit lupo, obviat leoni.” S: “He that skapyth the wolf metyth the lyon.” (N65ab); (T65a)
   (65b)    M: “De malo in malum, de coquo ad pistorem.” [B 104ab] M: “From evyll into worse, as the cooke to a bakere.”
   (66a)    S: “Cave ne quis faciat tibi malum; si autem fecerit, noli ei facere.” S: “Ware that no man do thee non evyll; if he do, do it not ayen.”
   (66b)    M: “Aque non currenti et homini tacenti credere noli.” [B 105ab] M: “The stylle standyng watyr and the man that spekyth but lytylle, beleve thaym not.” (N66b)
   (67a)    S: “Non omnes omnia possunt.” S: “We may not alle be lyke.”
   (67b)    M: “Scriptum est in casibus, ‘Qui non habet equum, vadat pedibus.’” [B 106ab] M: “It standeth wryten in a boke, ‘He that hath no horse muste go on fote.’” (N67b)
   (68a)    S: “Puer centum annorum maledictus erit.” S: “A chylde of an hundred yere is cursyd.” (N68ab)
   (68b)    M: “Tarde est veterem canem in ligamen mittere.” [B 110ab] M: “It is to late an olde hounde in a bande to lede.”
   (69a)    S: “Modo habenti dabitur et habundabit.” S: “He that hath, shal be yeven, and shall flowe.” (N69a)
   (69b)    M: “Ve homini qui non habet panes et habet parentes.” [B 111ab] M: “Woo to that man that hath frendes and no breed.”
   (70a)    S: “Ve viro duplici corde et duabus viis incedente.” S: “Whoo to that man that hath a dowble herte and in bothe weyes wyll wandre.” (N70ab)
   (70b)    M: “Qui duas vias vult ire, aut culum aut bracam debet rumpere.” [B 113ab] M: “He that wolle two weyes go muste eythre his ars or his breche tere.”
   (71a)    S: “Ex habundantia cordis os loquitur.” S: “Of habundaunce of th’erte the mouth spekyst.” (N71a)
   (71b)    M: “Ex saturitate ventris triumphat culus.” [B 116ab] M: “Out of a full wombe th’ars trompyth.”
   (72a)    S: “Duo boves equaliter trahunt ad unum jugum.” S: “Two oxen in one yocke drawen lyke.”
   (72b)    M: “Due vene equaliter vadunt ad unum culum.” [B 117ab] M: “Two veynes go lyke to oon ars.”
   (73a)    S: “Mulier pulchra a viro suo amanda.” S: “A fayre woman is to be lovyd of hire husbande.” (N73a)
   (73b)    M: “In collo est alba ut columba, in culo nigra et irsuta ut talpa.” [B 118ab] M: “In the necke is she whyte as a dove, and in the ars blacke and derke lyke a molle.” (N73b)
   (74a)    S: “In tribu Juda nimia est cognatio mea, et deus patris mei principem me constituit populi sui.” S: “Out of the generacion of Juda is my moost kyndrede; me the Lord of my fadre hath made governoure ovyr his people.” (T74a)
   (74b)    M: “Cognosco mappam quia de stuppa facta est.” [B 119ab] M: “I knowe wele a tabylcloth and of what werke it is made.”
   (75a)    S: “Necessitas facit hominem justum peccare.” S: “Nede makyth a right wyse man to do evyll.” (N75a)
   (75b)    M: “Lupus apprehensus et in custodia positus, aut caccat aut mordet.” [B 120ab] M: “The wolf that is takyn and set fast, eythre he byteth or shytyth.”
   (76a)    S: “Sufficeret michi temperaneus honor, si tantummodo deus universum orbem mee ditioni subjugasset.” S: “Were it so that God alle the world undre my power had set, it shulde suffyse me.”
   (76b)    M: “Non tantum datur catulo quantum blanditur sua cauda.” [B 122ab] M: “Men kan not yeve the katte so moche but that she woll hyr tayle wagge.” (N76b)
   (77a)    S: “Qui tardus venit ad mensam, suspensus est a cibo.” S: “He that late comyth to dyner, his parte is leest in the mete.”
   (77b)    M: “Gluto non currit per totum.” [B 123ab] M: “The glouton kan not se or renne al aboute.” (N77b)
   (78a)    S: “Cum molesta tibi sit uxor tua, ne timeas.” S: “Though it be so that thy wif be sowre, fere hir not.”
   (78b)    M: “Molli bergario lupus non cacat lanam.” [B 124ab] M: “The shepherde that wakyth welle, ther shall the wolf no wolle shyte.” (N78b); (T78b)
   (79a)    S: “Non decent stulto verba composita.” S: “It becomth no foles to speke or to brynge forth any wyse reason.” (N79a)
   (79b)    M: “Non decet canem sellam portare.” [B 126ab] M: “It becomyth not a dogge to bere a sadylle.” (N79b)
   (80a)    S: “Tunde latera filii tui, dum tenera sint.” S: “Whyles the children are lytyll, reighte theyre lymmes and maners.” (N80a)
   (80b)    M: “Qui osculat agnum amat et arietem.” [B 127ab] M: “He that kyssyth the lambe lovyth the shepe.”
   (81a)    S: “Omnes semite ad unam viam tendunt.” S: “Alle reyght pathys goon towardes oon weye.”
   (81b)    M: “Ad culum unum omnes tendunt vene.” [B 129ab] M: “So done alle the veynes renne towardes the ars.”
   (82a)    S: “A bono homine bona fit mulier.” S: “Of a good man comth a good wyf.” (N82a)
   (82b)    M: “A bono convivio bona fit merda, que calcatur pedibus. Sic et bestiales mulieres debent calcari.” [B 130ab] M: “Of a good mele comyth a great torde that men wyth theyre fete trede. So muste men also alle the bestyalle wyves trede undre fote.” (N82b); (T82b)
   (83a)    S: “Bene decet mulier pulchra juxta virum suum.” S: “A fayre wyf becomyth well by hir husband.” (T83a)
   (83b)    M: “Bene decet olla plena vino juxta sitientem.” [B 131ab] M: “A pot full wyth wyne becomth well by the thrusty.”
   (84a)    S: “Bene decet gladius honestus juxta latus meum.” S: “Wel becomyth a fayre sworde by my syde.”
   (84b)    M: “Bene decet strues juxta sepem meam.” [B 132ab] M: “Wel becomth my hegge a great hepe of stonys.” (N84b)
   (85a)    S: “Quanto magnus es, tanto humilis sis in omnibus.” S: “The gretter that ye be, the more meke shulde ye be in alle thyngys.” (N85a)
   (85b)    M: “Bene equitat qui cum paribus equitat.” [B 133ab] M: “He rydyth well that ridyth wyth his felawes.” (N85b)
   (86a)    S: “Filius sapiens letificat patrem suum, insipiens vero mesticia est matris sue.” S: “The wyse chylde gladyth the fadyr, and the folyssh childe is a sorwe to the modyr.” (N86a)
   (86b)    M: “Non equaliter cantant tristis et letus.” [B 136ab] M: “They synge not al oon songe, the glad and the sory.”
   (87a)    S: “Qui parce seminat parce et metet.” S: “He that sowyth wyth skaerstye repyth skaersly.” (N87a)
   (87b)    M: “Quanto plus gelat, tanto plus stringit.” [B 137ab] M: “The more it fryseth, the more it byndeth.”
   (88a)    S: “Omnia fac cum consilio, et post factum non penitebis.” S: “Do alle thynges by counsell, and thou shalt not aftre forthinke it.” (N88a)
   (88b)    M: “Satis est infirmus qui infirmum trahit.” [B 139ab] M: “He is seke ynough that the sekenesse drawyth or folowyth.”
   (89a)    S: “Omnia tempora tempus habent.” S: “Alle thinges have theyre seasons and tyme.”
   (89b)    M: “‘Diem hodie, diem cras’ dicit bos qui leporem sequitur.” [B 140ab] M: “‘Now daye; tomorwe daye,’ sayde the oxe that the hare chacyd.” (N89b)
   (90a)    S: “Iam fessus loquendo; requiescamus ergo.” S: “I am wery of spekyng; lete us therefore reste.” (T90a)
   (90b)    M: “Non obmittam loquelam meam.” [B 141ab] M: “Therfore shall not Y leve my clapping.”
   (91a)    S: “Non possum amplius.” S: “I may no more.”
   (91b)    M: “Si non potes, humiliter confitere te victum et da quod promisisti.” [B 142ab] M: “Yf ye maye no more, yelde youreself ovyrcomen and yeve me that ye have promysed.”
(1) Ad hoc Bananyas, filius Joiade, et Zabus, amicus regis, et Adonias, filius Abde, qui erant super tributa dixerunt ad Marcolphum: (2) “Ergo tu ne eris tercius in regno domini nostri. (3) Sed eruentur tibi tui pessimi oculi de tuo vilissimo capite. (4) Nam melius decet te jacere cum ursis domini nostri quam sublimari aliquo honore.” (5) Quibus Marcolphus ait: “Quis adheret culo nisi pastelli? Quare rex promisit?” (6) Tunc Venthur et Benadachar, Benesia, Bena, Benanudab, Banthaber, Achinadai, Achimaab, Hommia, Josepus, Semes, et Samer, duodecim prepositi regis dixerunt: (7) “Ut quid iste follus infestat dominum regem nostrum? (8) Cur non magnis colaphis maceratur, aut fustibus convictus eicietur de conspectu domini nostri regis?” (9) Ad hoc rex Salomon ait: “Non ita fiat, sed bene saturatus in pace dimittatur.” (10) Tunc Marcolphus recedens ait ad regem: “Satis patior quicquid dixeris. (11) Ego semper dicam, ‘Ibi non est rex, ubi non est lex.’”
(1) Wyth that spake to Marcolf Hananyas, the sone of Joiade, and Zabus, the kinges frende, and Adonias, the sone of Abde, whiche hadden the charge and governaunce ovyr the kynges tribute, and sayde: (2) “Thou shalt not herefore be the thyrdde in the kingedome of oure soveraigne lord. (3) Men shall rather put bothe thyn worst yen out of thy moost vyle hede, (4) for it becomyth thee bettyr to lye amonge berys than to be exalted to any dignyte or honour.” (5) Than Marcolphus sayde: “Wherfor hath the king than promysed?” (6) Than sayde the kinges xii provostes, that is to wyte, Nenthur, Benadachar, Benesya, Bena, Benanides, Banthabar, Athurady, Bominia, Josephus, Semes, and Samer: (7) “Whereto comth this fole, oure soveraign lorde al thus to trouble and mocke? (8) Why dryve ye hym not out wyth stavys of his syghte?” (9) Tho sayde Salomon: “Not so, but yeve hym wele to ete and drinke and lete hym than goo in pease.” (10) Tho spak Marcolphus goyng his weye to the king: “I suffre ynough what that ye have sayde. (11) I shall alweyes saye, ‘There is no king were no lawe is.’” (T1)
(N6); (T6)
(N11); (T11)
[B Pars II]
[B 1]   (1) [R]ex igitur quadam die cum venatoribus suis et copulis canum de venationum persequutione forte transibat ante hospicium Marcolphi folli, (2) divertit se illuc cum equo suo, et inclinato capite suo sub limine hostii, requirens quis intus esset.(3) Marcolphus respondit regi: “Intus est homo integer, et dimidius, et caput equi, (4) et quanto plus ascendunt, tanto plus descendunt.” (5) Ad hoc Salomon dixit: “Quid est quod dicis?” (6) Marcolphus respondit: “Nam integer ego sum intus sedens, dimidius homo tu es supra equum extra sedens, intus prospiciens inclinatus, (7) caput vero equi caput est tui caballi super quem sedes.” (8) Tunc Salomon dixit: “Qui sunt ascendentes et descendentes?”(9) Marcolphus respondit et ait: “Fabe in olla bulientes.” (10) Salomon: “Ubi sunt tuus pater et tua mater, tua soror et tuus frater?” (11) Marcolphus: “Pater meus facit in campo de uno damno duo damna, (12) mater mea facit vicine sue quod ei amplius non faciet, (13) frater autem meus extra domum sedens, quicquid invenit, occidit. (14) Soror autem in cubiculo sedens plorat risum annualem.” (15) Salomon: “Quid illa significant?” (16) Marcolphus: “Pater meus in campo suo est et semitam per campum transeuntem occupare cupiens, spinas in semitam ponit, et homines venientes scilicet duas vias faciunt nocinas ex una, et ita facit duo damna ex uno. (17) Mater mea vero claudit oculos vicine sue morientis, quod amplius ei non faciet. (18) Frater autem meus extra domum sedens in sole et pelliculas ante tenens, pediclos omnes quos invenit occidit. (19) Soror autem mea preterito anno quendam juvenem adamavit, et inter ludicra, risus, et molles tactus, et basia, (20) quod tunc risit, modo pregnans plorat.”
(1) Onys upon a tyme the king rode an huntyng wyth his hunterys and howndes and fortunyd hym to come by the house of Marcolf, (2) and turnyd hymself thidrewardes wyth his horse and demaunded, wyth his hede inclyned undre the dorre bowe, who was wythinne. (3) Marcolf answeryd to the king:“Wythin is an hool man, and an half, and an horse hede, (4) and the more that they ascende, the more they downe falle.” (5) To that spak Solomon: “What menyst thou therwithall?” (6) Tho answeryd Marcolphus: “The hole man is myself syttyng wythin, ye are the half man syttyng wythoute upon youre horse, lokyng in wyth youre hede declyned, (7) and the horse hede is the hede of youre horse that ye sytte on.” (8) Than Salomon demaunded of Marcolphus what they were that clymen up and fallyn downe. (9) Marcolph answeryd and sayde: “They are the benys boyllyng in the pott.” (10) Salomon: “Where is thy fadyr, thy modyr, thy sustyr, and thy brothyr?” (11) Marcolph: “My fadyr is in the felde and makyth of oon harme two. (12) My modyr is goon and dooth to hir neighborwe that she nevyr more shall do; (13) my brothyr sytting wythoute the house sleyth alle that he fyndeth. (14) My sustyr syttyth in hire chambre and bewepyth that aforetyme she laughyd.” (15) Salomon: “What betokenth they?” (16) Marcolph: “My fadyr is in the felde and puttyth or settyth thornys in a footpath, and comyng men they make an othre path therby, and so he makyth of oon harme two. (17) My modyr is goon and closyth the yes of hir neyghborwe deying, the whiche she shall nevyr more do. (18) My brothyr sytting withoute the house in the sonne and lowsyth, and alle that he fyndeth, he sleyth. (19) My sustyr the laste yere lovyd a yonge man and wyth kyssyng, laughing, tastyng, japyng, and playing, (20) she was getyn wyth chylde whereof she now travayllyth, and that now she bewepyth sore.” (N)
[B 2]   (1) Ad hoc Salomon ait: “Unde tibi versucia hec venit?” (2) Marcolphus respondit: “Tempore David patris tui, cum essem infantulus, medici patris tui quadam die peragendis medicinis unum vulturem acceperunt, (3) et cum singula membra necessitatibus expendissent, (4) Bethsabea mater tua cor illius accepit, et super crustam ponens in igne assavit ac tibi comedere dedit, (5) mihique qui tunc in coquina eram, crustam post caput projecit. (6) Ego vero crustam vulture perfusam comedi, et inde, ut spero, versucia mea venit, sicut et tibi pro cordis comestione sapientia.” (7) Salomon: “Sic te deus adjuvet! In Gabaa mihi apparuit deus et replevit me sapientia.” (8) Marcolphus: “Talis dicitur esse sapiens qui seipsum habet pro stulto.” (9) Salomon: “Nonne audivisti quales divicias dedit mihi deus insuper et ipsam sapientiam?” (10) Marcolphus: “Audivi. Scio enim quod ubi vult deus ibi pluit.”
(1) Salomon: “How comyth to thee alle this wysdome and subtyltye?” (2) Marcolfus: “In the tyme of King David youre fadyr, there was a yonge man his phisician, (3) and as he onys had takyn a vulture for to occupye in his medicins and had takyn therof that was to hym expedyent, (4) so toke youre modyr, Barsebea, the herte and leyde it upon a cruste of breed and rostyd it upon the feyre and yave you the herte to ete, (5) and I thanne beyng in the kechin, she kast at my hede the cruste through moysted wyth th’erte of the vulture, (6) and that ete I and therof, I suppose, is comen to me my subtiltie, lyke as to you is comen by etyng of th’erte wysedom.” (7) Salomon: “As verelye God helpe thee! In Gabaa, God appieryd to me and fulfylled me wyth sapience.” (8) Marcolphus: “He is holdyn wyse that reputyth hymself a fole.” (9) Salomon: “Haste thou not herde what rychesse God hath yevyn me aboven that wysedome?” (10) Marcolph: “I have herde it, and I knowe well that where God woll, there reynyth it.” (N1)
[B 3]   (1) Ad hoc Salomon subridens ait: “Homines mei extra domum me exspectant foris. (2) Non possum amplius tecum stare, sed dic matri tue ut de meliori quam habet vacca mittat mihi ollam plenam lacte, (3) et ipsam ollam cooperiat de eadem vacca, tuque michi eam portes.” (4) Marcolphus: “Faciam,” inquit. (5) Rex vero Salomon cum ingenti strepitu hominum suorum in Jherusalem veniens in pallacio suo sicut dives et potens dominus receptus. (6) Mater autem Marcolphi, Floscemia nomine, rediens, jussum regis ei patefecit. (7) Tunc Floscemia ollam plenam lactis recipiens et placentam candidam de eodem lacte liniens super ollam posuit, (8) sicque Marcolphum, filium suum, regi transmisit. (9) Marcolphus vero per semitam unius prati incedens et calore estatis estuans vidit basam vacce jacentem, (10) vixque ollam ad terram deponens, placentam comedit, et cum basa vacce ollam contexit. (11) Cumque venisset ante regem ollam tectam cum basa vacce representans, (12) ait rex Salomon: “Cur sic olla cooperta est?” (13) Marcolphus: “Nonne jussisti ut lac vacce de vacca cooperiretur? Et factum est.” (14) Salomon: “Non ita fieri precepi.” (15) Marcolphus:“Sic intellexeram.” (16) Salomon: “Melius fuisset, si placenta lacte fuisset linita.” (17) Marcolphus: “Sic factum fuit, sed fames mutavit ingenium.” (18) Salomon: “Quomodo?” (19) Marcolphus: “Sciebam te non indigere pane et indigens comedi placentam lacte linitam, (20) et pro ipso ingenio mutato basam vacce super ollam posui.”
(1) To that sayd Salomon alle laughyngly: “My folkys wayte upon me withoute. (2) I may no lengyr wyth thee talke, but saye to thy modyr that she sende me of hir beste cowe a pot full of mylke, (3) and that the pot of the same cowe be coveryd, and bringe thou it to me.” (4) Marcolphus: “It shal be done.” (5) King Salomon wyth his companye rydyng towardys Jerusalem was honourably receyvyd as a riche and moost puyssant king. (6) And whan Floscemya, Marcolphus modyr, was comyn home to hir house, he dede to hir the kinges message. (7) Than she, taking a pot full wyth mylke of hir cowe, and coveryd it wyth a flawne of the same mylke made, (8) and sent it so forth to the king by hir sone. (9) As Marcolphus went ovyr the felde, the wethir was warme of the sonne, sawe lying there a drye bakyn cowe torde, (10) and for haste he unnethe cowde set downe the pot to the erthe but that he had etyn the flawne and toke up the cowe torde and therwyth covyrd the pot, (11) and so covyrd presentyd it before the king. (12) And he askyd: “Why is the pot thus covyrd?” (13) Marcolf: “My lord, have not ye commaunded that the milke shulde be covyrd of the same cowe?” (14) Salomon: “I commaunded not so to be done.” (15) Marcolph: “Thus I undyrstode.” (16) Salomon: “It had ben bettyr coveryd wyth a flawne made wyth the mylke of the same cowe.” (17) Marcolph: “So was it furste done, but hungyr chaungyd wyt.” (18) Salomon: “How?” (19) Marcolph: “I wyste wele that ye had no nede of mete, and I havyng great hungyr ete the flawne wyth mylke anoynted, (20) and for that wyth wyt chungyd, the pot I have thus coveryd wyth a cowe torde.” (N2); (T2)
(N17); (T17)
[B 4]   (1) Salomon: “Nunc istud dimittamus, sed si in hac nocte non ita bene vigilaveris sicut ego, in crastino de capite tuo non poteris confidere.” (2) Salomon et Marcolphus consederunt, parvoque intervallo facto Marcolphus dormire cepit et ructare. (3) Cui Salomon ait:“Dormis, Marcolphe?” Marcolphus respondit: “Non dormio, sed penso.” (4) Salomon: “Quid pensas?” Marcolphus: “Penso tot in lepore esse juncturas in cauda quot in spina.” (5) Salomon: “Nisi hoc probaveris, reus mortis eris.” (6) Iterum, Salomone tacente, Marcolphus dormire cepit. Cui Salomon: “Dormis, Marcolphe?” Marcolphus: “Non dormio, sed penso.” (7) Salomon: “Quid pensas?” Marcolphus: “Penso tot pennas albas in pica quot nigras.” (8) Salomon: “Nisi etiam hoc probaveris, reus eris mortis.” (9) Iterum, Salomone tacente, Marcolphus ructare et dormire cepit. Cui Salomon: “Dormis, Marcolphe?” Marcolphus: “Non dormio, sed penso.” (10) Salomon: “Quid pensas?” Marcolphus: “Penso nullam rem sub celo esse candidiorem die.” (11) Salomon: “Nunquid ergo dies candidior est lacte?” Marcolphus: “Est.” Salomon: “Probandum est hoc.” (12) Post hoc Salomone tacente et vigilante Marcolphus dormire et sufflare cepit. (13) Cui Salomon: “Marcolphe, adhuc dormis?” Marcolphus: “Non dormio, sed penso.” (14) Salomon: “Quid pensas?” Marcolphus: “Nihil tute esse credendum mulieri.” Salomon: “Et hoc a te probabitur.” (15) Iterum, Salomone tacente, Marcolphus sufflare et dormire cepit. Cui Salomon: “Iterum dormis?” Marcolphus: “Non dormio, sed penso.” (16) Salomon: “Quid pensas?” Marcolphus: “Penso plus valere naturam quam nutrituram.” Salomon: “Nisi hoc probaveris, cras morieris.” (17) Post hoc, transacta nocte, Salomon fessus vigilando, se in loco suo collocavit.
(1) Salomon: “Now leve we alle this, and yf that thou thys nyght wake not as wele as I, thou mayste have no truste tomorne of thy hede.” (2) Salomon and Marcolph consentyd bothe, and wythin a lytyll whyle aftyr Marcolph began to rowte. (3) Salomon sayde: “Marcolf, thou slepyst?” Marcolph answeryd: “Lord, I do not. I thinke.” (4) Salomon: “What thinkyst thou?” Marcolf: “I thinke that there are as many joyntys in the tayle of an hare as in hire chyne.” (5) Salomon: “If thou prove not that tomorne, thou arte worthy to deye.” (6) Salomon beyng stylle, began Marcolph to slepe ayen, and sayde to hym: “Thou slepyst?” And he answeryd: “I do not, for I thynke.” (7) Salomon: “What thynkest thou?” Marcolphus: “I thynke that the pye hath as many whyte fethrys as blacke.” (8) Salomon: “But thou also prove that trewe, thou shalt lese thyn hede.” (9) As Salomon ayen began to be stylle, Marcolph began ayen to rowte and to blowe, and Salomon sayd to hym: “Thou slepyst?” Marcolphus: “Nay, I thinke.” (10) Salomon: “What thinkest thou?” Marcolph: “I thinke that undre th’erthe is no clerer thing than the daye.” (11) Salomon: “Is the daye clerer than mylke?” Marcolph: “Ye.” Salomon: “That muste thou prove.” (12) Anone herupon began Marcolphus to slepe. (13) Salomon: “Thou slepyst.” Marcolph: “I slepe not, but I muse.” (14) Salomon: “What musyst thou?” Marcolph: “I muse how that men may not surely truste the women.” Salomon: “And that of thee shal be provyd.” (15) Anon aftyr as Salomon was stylle, began Marcolf ayen to blowe and to slepe. Salomon: “Thou slepyst?” Marcolph: “I do not, but I thinke.” (16) Salomon: “What thinkest thou?” Marcolph: “I thinke how that nature goth afore lernyng.” Salomon: “If thou prove not that trewe, thou shalt lese thyn hede.” (17) Aftyr that the nyght was ovyrpassyd and Salomon, wery of waking, put hymself to reste. (N1)
[B 5]   (1) Tunc Marcolphus, dimisso rege, festinus cucurrit ad sororem suam, Fudasam nomine, et similans se multum esse tristem, dixit ad eam: (2) “Rex Salomon contrarius est mihi, et non possum pati minas et injurias ejus, sed ego accipio cultellum unum sub veste mea, (3) et hodie, nesciente eo, infigam in cor ejus et sic occidam eum. (4) Nunc autem, chara soror, precor te, ne me accuses, sed omni fide zeles, nec etiam fratri meo Bufrido indices istud.” (5) Cui Fudasa respondit: “Chare frater Marcholphe, nihil dubites, (6) quia pro capite perdendo non te accusarem.” (7) Post hoc Marcolphus caute rediit ad curiam regis.
(1) Than Marcolf lefte the king and ran hastely to hys sustyr Fudasa and fayned hymself sorwefull and hevy, and sayde to hyre: (2) “The king Salomon is ayenst me, and I may not bere hys threytys and injuries, and but I shall take this knyf and hyde it secretly undyr my clothes, (3) and therewyth thys daye all pryvely, he not knowyng, I shall smyte hym to th’erte and sle hym. (4) Now good dere sustyr, I praye thee, accuse me not but in any wyse kepe it secrete, ne shewe it not to myn owne brothyr Bufrydo.” (5) Fudasa answeryd: “My dere and leevest brothyr Marcolf, put no doubtes therin. (6) I had levyr dye and be brent at a stake rather than I shulde discovre it or accuse thee.” (7) Aftyr that retournyd Marcolf alle pryvely towardys the kynges courte. (N1)
(N2); (T2)
[B 6]   (1) Sole autem terram illuminante, curia regis impletur, et Salomon a lecto consurgens sedit in throno pallacii sui. (2) Tunc jussu regis lepus queritur, et in sua presentia defertur, et tot juncture in cauda quot in spina a Marcolpho numerantur. (3) Deinde quesita pica et coram rege illata, tot penne albe quot nigre a Marcolpho numerantur. (4) Tunc rege nesciente Marcolphus lagenam plenam lacte in cubiculo obstruxit ne lux intraret, (5) regemque vocavit. Cumque rex intrare voluisset cubiculum, posuit pedem super lagenam plenam lacte, et lapsus corruisset, nisi manibus se tenuisset. (6) Tunc rex iratus dixit: “Tu fili perditionis, quid est quod fecisti?” (7) Marcolphus: “Irasci ab hac re noli. Nonne dixisti quod lac esset candidius die? Quare non vidisti de lacte, sicut de die vidisses? Equum judica! Nihil tibi peccavi.” (8) Salomon: “Deus tibi parcat! Vestis mea est perfusa, collum debuissem habere confractum de tuo opere, et nihil mihi peccasti?” (9) Marcolphus: “Alia vice custodi te. Sed nunc sedens fac mihi justiciam de proclamatione qua loquor ad te.”
(1) The sonne rysyng and spredyng hyr beamys ovyr th’erthe illumined and fulfyllyd the kingys palayce, and Salamon, rysyng from his bed, wente and sat in the trone or sete of his palayce. (2) Than commaunded he to bringe afore hym an hare, and as many joyntes in his tayle as in hys chyne were fownden by Marcolph and nombredyd. (3) Thanne was there a pye brought before the king, and as many whyte fethrys as black were fownden by Marcolph. (4) And thanne toke Marcolph a great panne wyth mylke and set it in the kinges bedchambre alle pryvely, and closyd to alle the wyndowes that no lyght myght in come. (5) Thanne kallyd he the king into the chambre, and as he come in he stumblyd at the panne and was nygh fallyn therin. (6) Tho was the king angry and displeasyd and sayd: “Thou fowle evyl body, what is it that thou doost?” (7) Marcolphus answeryd: “Ye ought not herefore to be angry. For have ye not sayd that milke is clerer than the daye? How is it that ye se not as wele by the clerenesse of the mylke as ye do bi the clerenesse of the daye? Juge egaly and ye shall fynde that I have nothyng mysdone unto you.” (8) Salomon: “God foryeve thee! My clothys be alle wyth mylke sprongyn, and nygh I had my necke brokyn and yet thou haste me nothing trespasyd?” (9) Marcolphus answeryd: “Anothre tyme se bettyr tofore you. Nevyrthelesse, sytte downe and do me justyce upon a mater that I shall shewe afore you.” (T1)
[B 7]   (1) Cumque rex consedisset, Marcolphus conquerebatur dicens: “Habeo, domine, unam sororem Fudasam nomine, que meretrix effecta, que etiam pregnans dehonestat omnem parentelam meam, et tamen vult habere hereditatem paternam.” (2) Tunc Salomon ait: “Vocetur ante nos soror tua et audiamus quid ipsa velit dicere.” (3) Cunque fuisset vocata Fudasa coram rege, subridens rex Salomon ait: “Bene potest ista esse soror Marcolphi!” (4) Figura autem Fudase curta erat et grossa et impregnata, que ventre grossior erat, (5) et habuit spissas tibias, claudicansque utroque pede, vultu et oculis staturam Marcolpho similem gerens. (6) Rex Salomon ait ad Marcolphum: “Dic, quid conquereris de tua sorore.” (7) Ad hoc Marcolphus consurgens dixit: “Domine rex, proclamationem facio coram te de sorore mea, que meretrix est effecta et pregnans, sicut videre potes, dehonestat omnem parentelam meam, (8) ac insuper vult habere partem hereditatis mee. (9) Quamobrem precor ut jubeas ne ipsa accipiat partem in ipsa hereditate.” (10) Audiens hec Fudasa, repleta furore, prorupit in hanc vocem et dixit: “Pessime leccator, quare non haberem partem in hereditate mea? (11) Nonne, Marcolphe, genuit me Floscemia, que fuit mea mater, sicut et tua?” (12) Marcolphus: “Non habebis hereditatem, quia mediante tua culpa damnabitur tibi hereditas.” (13) Fudasa ad hoc ait: “Non damnabitur mihi hereditas, quia, si peccavi, emendabo, sed juro per deum et per virtutes ejus, (14) nisi me dimiseris in pace, dicam talem rem, pro qua rex te suspensione faciet perire.” (15) Marcolphus: “Sordida meretrix, quid dicere posses? Nil peccavi cuiquam.” (16) Fudasa ait: “Multum peccasti, tu vilis nequam, (17) quia vis occidere dominum regem, et si non credatur mihi, queratur cultellus sub veste tua.” (18) Cumque cultellus a familia quereretur et non inveniretur, (19) Marcolphus ait astantibus et regi: “Nonne verum dixi nil tute esse credendum mulieri?” (20) Cunque omnes elevassent risum, dixit Salomon: “Per ingenium omnia facis, Marcolphe.” (21) Marcolphus: “Non est ingenium, sed quod credidi sorori mee, fraudulenter publicavit, sicut fuisset de veritate.” (22) Salomon: “Et quare dixisti plus valere naturam quam nutrituram?” (23) Marcolphus: “Sustine paululum, et antequam dormias ostendam tibi.”
(1) Whan he was set, Marcolph complayned and shewyd: “Lord, I have a sustyr that hath to name Fudasa, and she hath yeven hyrself to horedam and is wyth childe wherwyth she shamyth and dishonestyd alle oure bloode and lynage, and yet wolde she parte wyth me in my fathres good and herytage.” (2) Thanne sayde Salomon: “Lete hyr come afore us, and we shall here hyr what she woll saye herto.” (3) As Salomon sawe hyr come from ferre, sayde all laughyngly: “Thys may wele be Marcolphus sustyr!” (4) This Fudasa was short and thycke, and therto was she great with chylde, and thus was she thycker than she was of lenghthe. (5) She had thycke leggys and short, and went on fote lame, wyth vysage, yen, and stature lycke to Marcolph. (6) Salomon sayde to Marcolph: “What complaynest or askyst thou of thy sustyr?” (7) Marcolph answeryd: “My lord, I complayne and shewe opynly afore you of my sustyr, that she is a stronge harlot and a strumpet and is wyth chylde, as ye may se, and alle oure blood and kynrede by hyr is shamyd. (8) That wythstandyng, she wolde dele and parte wyth me in my fathres good and herytage. (9) Wherefore, I requyre you of justyce and that ye commaunde hire that she take no parte ne make no clayme therto.” (10) This heryng, Fudasa, replete wyth angre and woednesse, cryed on hygh and sayde: “Thou fowle mysshapyn harlot, wherefore shulde not I have my parte in oure fadres good and herytage? (11) And is not Floscemya moder to us bothe?” (12) Marcolph: “Thou shalt not have any dele or parte therin, for thin offense jugeth thee clerely therfro.” (13) Fudasa: “Therfore, I may not lese myn herytage. For have I mysdone, I shalle amende it, but oon thyng I promyse thee and swere by God and all hys myght. (14) Yf thou wylt not lete me be in pease and suffre me to have my parte in the land, I shall shewe suche a thyng of thee that the king, or it be nyght, shall do thee to be hangyd.” (15) Marcolphus: “Thou fowle stynkyng hore, what kanst thou saye of me? I have no man mysdone. Saye thy worste, I dyffye thee.” (16) Fudasa: “Thou haste moche misdone, thou fowle facyd knave and rybaulde that thou art. (17) For thou gladly woldyst sle the king, and yf ye beleve not me, seke undyr his cote and ye shall fynde the knyf.” (18) Tho was the knyf sought by the kinges servauntys and it was not fownde. (19) Sayde Marcolph to the king and to the aboutestanders: “And have I not sayde trouthe, that men shulde not put ovyrmoche truste or confidence in the women?” (20) Wyth that they alle began to laughen. Tho sayd Salomon: “Marcolph, thou doost alle thy thynges by crafte and subtyltye.” (21) Marcolph answeryd: “Lord, it is no subtyltye, but that my sustyr had promysed me to have kept it secrete, and she hath falsely discoverd it, as though it had ben of a trouthe.” (22) Salomon: “Wherefore haste thou sayd that arte or nature goth before lernyng?” (23) Marcolph: “Take pacyence a lytyll, and afore or ye go to bedde, I shal shewe you.” (T5)
[B 8]   (1) Die autem transeunte et hora cene adveniente, rex sedit ad cenam cum maximo apparatu suorum, et Marcolphus sedens cum aliis inclusit tres mures in manicam tunice sue. (2) Fuerat enim in curia regis Salomonis cattus ita nutritus, ut omni nocte rege cenante teneret candelam duobus pedibus coram universis cenantibus stans, et duobus pedibus lucernam tenens. (3) Cum jam bene omnes cenassent, Marcolphus emisit unum de muribus, quem cum cattus respexisset et post illum ire voluisset, nutu regis est retentus. (4) Dumque de secundo mure factum fuisset similiter, Marcolphus emisit murem tercium, quem cum cattus conspexisset, ultra non tenens candelam, sed eandem rejecit, et post murem currens illum apprehendit. (5) Hoc Marcolphus videns dixit ad regem: “Ecce, rex, coram te probavi plus valere naturam quam nutrituram.” (6) Dixit autem Salomon: “Projicite eum de conspectu meo. Si amplius venerit, dimittite super eum canes meos.” (7) Marcolphus: “Nunc pro certo scio et dicere possum, quia ibi est mala curia, ubi non est justicia.” (8) Cunque expulsus fuisset Marcolphus, cepit intra se dicere: “Neque sic neque sic sapiens Salomon de Marcolpho britone pacem habebit.”
(1) The daye passyd ovyr and the tyme of souper cam on. The king sat to sowper and othre wyth whom sat Marcolph and had alle pryvely put into hys sleve thre quyk myse. (2) There was norysshyd in the kinges house a catte, that every nyght as the king sat at sowper was wont to holde betwyxt hyre forefeet a brennyng kandell upon the tabyll. (3) Thanne lete Marcolph oon of the myse go out of his sleve. As the catte that saugh, she wolde have lept aftyr, but the king yave hyr a wynke or countenaunce that she bode stylle syttyng and removyd not. (4) And in lyke wyse dede she of the secunde mowse. Thanne lete Marcolph the thrydde mowse go, and as the katte sawe she cowde no lenger abyde, but kaste the kandell awaye, and lept aftyr the mowse and toke it. (5) And as Marcolph that sawe, sayde to the king: “Here I have now provyd before you that nature goth afore lernyng.” (6) Tho commaunded Salomon his servauntes: “Have thys man out of my syghte, and if he come hythre any more, set my howndes upon hym.” (7) Marcolphus: “Now for certayne I knowe and may saye that where as the hede is seke and evyll at ease, there is no lawe.” (8) As Marcolph was thus out dryven, he seyde to hymself: “Neythre so nor so shall the wyse Salomon of Marcolf be quyte.” (N)
(N8); (T8)
[B 9]   (1) Insequenti autem die de lectulo consurgens cogitavit quomodo curiam regis intrare posset, sic ut canes regis eum non devorarent. (2) Et abiens emit unum vivum leporem et posuit sub veste sua, sicque reversus est ad curiam regis. (3) Quem cum servi Salomonis vidissent, canes super eum ejecerunt. Marcolphus vero leporem emisit. Protinus canes Marcolphum relinquentes leporem invaserunt, et sic Marcolphus venit ad regem. (4) Cunque rex vidisset eum, dixit: “Quis te huc intromisit?” (5) Marcolphus respondit: “Calliditas non parva.”
(1) On the next mornyng folowyng as he was out of his couche or kenel rysen, he bethoughte hym in his mynde how he myght beste gete hym ayen into the kinges courte wythout hurte or devouryng of the howndes. (2) He went and bought a quyk hare and put it undre his clothis, and yede ayen to the courte. (3) And whan the kinges servauntes had syghte of hym, they set upon hym alle the howndes, and forthwyth he caste the hare from hym, and the howndes aftre, and lefte Marcolph, and thus came he ayen be the king. (4) And as he sawe hym, he askyd who had letyn hym in. (5) Marcolph answeryd: “Wyth great sutyltie am I in comen.”
[B 10]   (1) Salomon: “Cave ne hodie mittas salivam de ore tuo nisi super terram.” (2) Pallacium autem erat stratum tapetis, et parietes erant cooperti cortinis. (3) Cumque Marcolphus nimiam tussim haberet, et inter colloquia ejus saliva nimia in ore ejus habundaret, respiciens circa se vidit hominem calvum juxta regem stantem. (4) Tunc in angustia grandi positus, cum non videret nudam terram, super quam screare posset, collegit salivam in ore cum magno impetu, et screavit in frontem calvi hominis. (5) Mox calvus iste nimio rubore perfusus frontem suam detersit et se ad pedes regis prostravit, et proclamationem de Marcolpho fecit. (6) Salomon: “Quare fedasti frontem calvi hujus?” (7) Marcolphus: “Non fedavi, sed fimavi. In sterili enim terra fimus ponitur, ut segetes in ea abundantius multiplicentur.” (8) Salomon: “Et hoc quid pertinet ad calvum hominem?” (9) Marcolphus: “Nonne prohibuisti ut hodie non screarem nisi super terram nudam? Vidi enim frontem nudam capillis et credens esse nudam terram ideo screavi in eam. (10) Non irasci debet rex pro hac re, quia pro suo proficuo feci. Si frons ejus frequenter sic fuisset rigata, capilli reverterentur.” (11) Salomon: “Deus te confundat! Nam calvi homines sunt ceteris honestiores, quia calvitium enim non est vicium, sed honoris initium.” (12) Marcolphus: “Calvicium est magis muscarum ludibrium. Non conspiceo, rex, quomodo musce insequuntur frontem illius calvi magis quam ceterorum frontes capillorum? (13) Putant namque esse aliquod vas tornatile pleno aliquo bono potu aut esse aliquem lapidem delinitum aliqua dulcedine, et ideo infestant nudam frontem ejus.” (14) Ad hec coram rege calvus ait: “Ut quid vilissimus nequam intromittitur ante regem nos vituperare? Eiciatur foras!” (15) Marcolphus: “Et fiat pax in virtute tua, et tacebo!”
(1) Salomon: “Beware that thys daye thou spytte not but upon the bare grownde.” (2) The palayce was all coveryd wyth tapettys, and the walles hangyd wyth riche clothys. (3) Marcolf wythin short space aftyr wyth his talkyng and clateryng wyth othre, his mouth was full of spytyll, began to cough and reche up, (4) beholdyng al aboute hym where he myght best spytte and cowd fynde no bare erthe, sawe a ballyd man stondyng by the king barehedyd, and spatyld evyn upon his forehede. (5) The ballyd man was therwyth ashamyd, made clene his forehede, and fyll on kneyes before the kingys fete, and made a complaynt upon Marcolph. (6) Salomon: “Wherefore haste thou made fowle the forehede of this man?” (7) Marcolph: “I have not made it fowle, but I have dungyd it or made it fat. For on a bareyne grownde, it behovyth dunge to be layde, that the corne that is theron sowyn may the bettyr growe and multiplye.” (8) Salomon: “What is that to this man?” (9) Marcolph: “My lord, have ye not forbedyn me that this daye I shulde not spytte but upon the bare erthe? And I sawe his forehede alle bare of herys, and thynkyng it be bare erthe, and therefore I spyttyd upon it. (10) The king shall not be angry for this thing for I have done it for the manys proffyte, for and if his forehede were thus usyd to be made fat, the herys shulde ayen encrease and multiplye.” (11) Salomon: “God yeve thee shame! For the ballyd men aught to be aboven othre men in honure, for balydnesse is no shame, but a begynnyng of worshipe. (12) Marcolphus: “Balydnesse is a flyes nest. Beholde I not, syre, how the flyes folowe more his forehede than alle the othre that ben wythin thys house? (13) Forwhy they trowen that it be a vessell turnyng full wyth som good drinke or ellys to be a stone anoynted wyth any swete thyng, and therfore they haste thaym to his bare forehede.” (14) To this sayd the ballyd man afore the king: “Wherto is this moost vyle rybaulde sufferyd in the kinges presence us to rebuke and shame? Lete hym be kast out!” (15) Marcolph: “And be it pease in thy vertu, and I shal be stylle.” (N1)
(N15); (T15)
[B 11]   (1) Interea venerunt due mulieres ferentes unum vivum puerum, de quo coram rege contendebant. (2) Nam una dixit: “Meus est infans.” Altera: “Non, sed meus est.” Sed una earum dormiens suum oppresserat filium, unde coram Salomone pro vivo puero contendebant. Nam una dixit: “Meus est,” etc. (3) Ad hoc Salomon dixit servis: “Afferte gladium et dividite infantem, et unaqueque mulier accipiat partem infantis.” (4) Quod audiens mulier cujus vivebat filius ad regem dixit: “Obsecro, domine, date illi infantem vivum. Hec est enim mater ejus.”
(1) Herewythall come yn two women bryngyng wyth thaym a lyving chylde, for the wyche they afore the king began to stryve. (2) For the oon sayde it belongyd to hyre, but the oon of thaym had forlayne hyre chylde slepyng so that they were in stryve for the levyng chylde. (3) Salomon sayd to oon of his servauntis: “Take a sworde and departe thys chylde in two pecys, and yeve eyther of thaym the oon half.” (4) That heryng, the naturall modyr of the lyvyng chylde sayde to the king: “Lord, I beseche you, yeve it to that woman all hool lyvyng for she his the verraye modyr therof.” Than sayde Salomon that she was the modyr of the chylde and yave it to hire. (N1)
[B 12]   (1) Marcolphus querit a rege: “Quomodo nosti hanc esse matrem pueri?” (2) Salomon: “Ex affectione et mutatione vultus et effusione lachrimarum.” (3) Marcolphus: “Non bene. An credis lacrimis femine? Tu sapiens nescis artes mulierum? (4) Dum femina plorat oculis, corde ridet; plorat uno oculo, ridet altero; (5) ostendit vultu quod non habet affectu; loquitur ore quod non cogitat mente; (6) hoc sepe promittit quod implere non cupit; sed immutatur vultus, per varia ejus ingenia cursitat cogitatus.(7) Innumeras artes habet femina.” (8) Salomon: “Quot habet artes, tot habet probitates.” (9) Marcolphus: “Non dic probitates, sed pravitates et deceptiones.” (10) Salomon: “Vere illa fuit meretrix, que talem genuit filium.” Marcolphus: “Cur hoc dicis, domine rex?” (11) Salomon: “Quia tu vituperas muliebrem sexum. Est enim mulier honesta, concupiscibilis, honorabilis et amabilis.” (12) Marcolphus: “Adhuc potes adiungere quod sit fragilis et flexibilis.” (13) Salomon: “Si est fragilis, per humanam conditionem talis est, si flexibilis, per delectationem talis est. (14) Mulier enim de costa hominis est facta, et homini in bonum adjutorium et delectamentum data. (15) Nam mulier potest dici quasi mollis res.” (16) Marcolphus: “Similiter mulier potest dici quasi mollis error.” (17) Salomon: “Mentiris, nequam pessime. Pessimus enim esse potes, omnia mala loquens de muliere. (18) De muliere enim nascitur omnis homo, et qui ergo dehonestat muliebrem sexum, nimium est vituperandus. (19) Unde quid divicie, quid regna, quid possessiones, quid aurum, quid argentum, quid preciose vestes, quid preciosi lapides, quid sumptuosa convivia, quid leta tempora, quid delicie valent sine femina? (20) Vere potest vocari mundo mortuus, qui est ab hoc sexu segregatus. (21) Femina enim generat filios et filias, nutrit et diligit eos, amplectitur, optat salutem eorum. (22) Femina regit domum, sollicita est pro salute mariti et familie. (23) Femina est delectatio rerum omnium, femina est dulcedo juvenum, femina est consolatio senum, exhilaratio puerorum. (24) Femina est gaudium diei, solacium noctis, laborum alleviatio, omnium rerum tristium oblivio. (25) Femina servit sine dolo, servetque introitus et exitus meos.” (26) Ad hoc Marcolphus ait: “Verum dicit, qui dixit: ‘Quod in corde, hoc est in ore.’ (27) Multum amas feminas et ideo laudas eas. Divicie, nobilitas, pulchritudo et sapientia concordant tibi, et ideo amores tibi concordant mulierum. (28) Sed dico tibi quam nunc laudas eas, et antequam tu dormias vituperabis eas.” (29) Cui Salomon: “Mentiris, quia omnibus diebus vite mee mulieres amavi, amo et amabo. (30) Sed nunc discede a me et vide ne amplius in conspectu meo male loquaris de muliere.”
(1) Marcolph demaunded of the king how he the modyr knewe. (2) Salomon: “By chaungyng of hir colure and affection, and by effusyon of terys.” (3) Marcolphus: “Ye myghthe so be disceyved, for beleve ye the wepyng of the women, and are so wyse and knowe the crafte of thaym no bettyr? (4) Whyllys a woman wepyth, she laughyth wyth th’erte. They kan wepe wyth oon yie and lawgh wyth the othyr. (5) They make contenaunce wyth the vysage that they thinke not. They speke wyth the tunge that they mene not wyth th’erte. (6) They promyse many tymes that they parforme not, but they chaunge theyre contenaunces as theyre myndes renne. (7) The women have innumerable craftes.” (8) Salomon: “As many craftes as they have, so many good condicyons and propyrtyes they have.” (9) Marcolphus: “Saye not good condicyons or propyrtyes, but saye shrewdnessys and decepcyons.” (10) Salomon: “Surely she was an hore that bare suche a sone.” Marcolph: “Wherefore saye ye so?” (11) Salomon: “For thou blamyst alle women, and they are honest, chaste, meke, lovyng, and curtayse.” (12) Marcolf: “To that myght ye adde and saye that they are brotyll and mutable.” (13) Salomon: “If they be brotyll, that have they of manys condicyon; yf they be chaungeable, that have they by delectacioun. (14) Woman is though made of mannys rybbe and yeven unto hym for his helpe and comfort. (15) For woman is as moche to saye as a ‘weyke erthe’ or a ‘weyke thynge.’” (16) Marcolph: “In like wyse it is as moche to saye as a ‘softe erroure.’” (17) Salomon: “There lyest thou, false kaytyf. Thou muste nedys be evyll and onhappy that sayst so moche shame and harme of women. (18) For of women we are alle comen, and therfore he that seyth evylle of the kynde of women is greatly to be blamyd. (19) For what is rychesse, wat is kingdomes, what is possessions, what is goold, what is sylver, what is costely clothyng or preciouse stonys, what is costely metys or drinkes, what is good companye or solace, what is myrthe withoute women? (20) On trouthe, they may kalle wele the world deed that from women are exiled or banysshed. (21) For women muste bere the chyldren, they fede and norysshe thaym up, and love thaym welle. She desyryth thayre helthys. (22) She governyth the household. She forwyth the helthe of hyr husband and household. (23) Women is the dilectacioun of alle thinges. She is the swetnesse of youthe. She is the solace or joye of age. She is gladnesse of childre. (24) She is joye of the daye. She is solace of the nyght. She is the glad ynd of laboure. Of alle hevynesses she is the forgeter. (25) She servyth withhoute grutchyng, and she shall watche my goyng out, and myn incomyng.” (26) Therupon answeryd Marcolphus: “He seyth trouthe that thinkyth wyth his herte as he spekyth wyth his mowth. (27) Ye have the women in great favoure, and therfore ye prayse thaym. Rychesse, nobylnesse, fayrenesse, and wysedom be in you, and therfore it behovyth you to love women. (28) But Y assure you one thyng, albeit that ye now prayse thaym ovyr moche, or ye slepe ye shal dysprayse thaym as faste.” (29) Salomon: “Therof thou shalt lye, for alle my lyve dayes I have lovyd women and shall duryng my lyf. (30) But now go from me and se wele to that before me thou nevyr speke evyll of women.” (N3)
[B 13]   (1) Tunc Marcolphus pallacium regis exiens vocavit ad se meretricem illam, cui restitutus fuit filius vivus, et dixit ad illam: “Scis quid actum sit in curia regis?” (2) At illa respondit: “Filius meus mihi concessus est vivus, sed quid factum sit prorsus ignoro.” (3) Cui Marcolphus: “Rex precepit ut crastina die tu voceris et socia tua, et dabitur tibi media pars filii tui, et illi altera similiter.” (4) Ad hoc mulier ait: “O quam malus rex et quam male et inique sententie ejus!” (5) Tunc Marcolphus dixit: “Adhuc graviora dicam tibi et deteriora. (6) Nam rex et consiliarii sui statuerunt ut unusquisque vir accipiat septem uxores. Unde pensa quid de eis faciendum sit. (7) Quia si unus vir septem habuerit uxores, nunquam erit domus in pace. (8) Una namque amabitur, altera despicietur. Quia illa que magis viro placuerit, cum marito frequentius erit, que vero minus placuerit, cum marito rarius erit. (9) Una ergo bene vestietur, altera nuda relinquetur. Dilecta habebit anulos, monilia, argentum, et aurum, varium et sericum. (10) Custodiet claves domus, honorabitur a familia, et vocabitur domina. Omnes divicie mariti cedunt ei. (11) Cumque sic una amabitur, quid alie sex dicture sunt? Si due, quid alie quinque? Si quatuor, quid alie tres? Si quinque, quid alie due? Si sex, quid una? (12) Tunc osculabitur, amplexabitur et marito sociabitur. (13) Que videntes, [quid] dicture sunt aut referant? Nec enim vidue nec maritate, nec cum marito nec sine marito erunt. Penitebit enim eas perdidisse virginitatem. (14) Ire, rixe, contentiones, emulationes et invidie inter eas semper erunt, perpetuum odium inter eas regnabit, et nisi prohibitum fuerit hoc malum, una preparabit alteri venenum. (15) Quamobrem, quia femina es et nosti muliebrem sexum, festina nunciare dominabus omnibus quibus potes hujus civitatis, et dic eis ut omnino non consentiant, sed contradicant regi et consiliariis ejus.”
(1) Than Marcolphus, goyng out of the kynges palayce, kallyd to hym the woman that had hir childe to hyre yeven ayen by the king and sayd to hyre: “Knowyst thou not what is done and concluded in the kingys counsell todaye?”(2) She answeryd: “My chylde is yevyn me ayen alyve, what ellys there is done, that knowe not I.” (3) Tho sayd Marcolph: “The king hath commaunded and is uttyrly determyned that tomorwe thou and thy felawe shall come ayen afore hym, and that thou shalt have the one half of thy chylde and thy felawe the othre half.” (4) Than sayde the woman: “O what evyll king, and what false and untrewe sentence yevyth he!” (5) Marcolph sayde: “Yet shall I shewe thee grettyr matiers and more chargeable, and of grettyr weyghte. (6) The king and his counseyle hath ordeyned that evyr man shall have vii wyves, therfor remembre and thinke what therin is best to be done. (7) For as one man hath vii wyves, so shall ther nevyr more be reste or pease in th’ouse. (8) One shal be belovyd, anothre shall displease hym. For hir that he lovyth shal be moost wyth hym, and the othre nevyr or seldom. (9) She shal be wele clothyd, and the othre shal be forgetyn. Hyr that he lovyth best shall have ryngys, jowellys, goold, sylvyr, furres, and were sylkys. (10) She shal kepe the keyes of alle the house, she shal be honouryd of alle the servauntys and be kallyd ‘Mastres.’ Alle his goodes shall falle to hire. (11) What shall than saye the othre vi? And yf he love tweyne, what shall the othre v saye? And yf he love thre, what shal saye the othre iiii? and yf he love iiii what shall the othre iii do, etc.? (12) That he lovyth best, he shall alwayes have by hym and kysse hire and halse hyre. (13) The othyr shall nowe saye that they are neythre wydowes nor weddyd, nor yit unweddyd, nor wythoute husbande. They shal nowe well forthynke that they have theyre maydenhede loste. (14) There shall evyr stryff, angre, envye, and brawelyng reigne, and if there be not fownde a remedy herefore, many great inconvenyencys shall growe thereof. (15) And by cause that thou arte a woman, and well acqueynted wyth the condicyons of women, haste thee and shewe thys to alle the ladyes and women wythin this citie, and advyse thaym that they consente not to it in any wyse, but wythstande it and saye ayenst the king and his counseyll.” (N1); (T1)
[B 14]   (1) Cunque Marcolphus caute rediisset ad curiam regis Salomonis et consedisset in angulo pallacii, (2) illa meretrix, credens verba ejus esse vera, transvolans per medium urbis et palmas suas pectusque suum quatiens, verba que audierat undique divulgabat. (3) Et sic concursus matronarum fiebat, vicina referebat vicine, et oriebatur ingens tumultus mulierum. Et sub parva hora quasi omnes femine seu mulieres totius urbis in unum congregebantur. (4) Quibus congregatis placuit eis consilium, et agmine facto magno, iverunt ad pallacium regis Salomonis. Venientes itaque ad curiam regis Salomonis quasi septem milia mulierum vallaverunt pallacium sive aulam regis Salomonis, et impetu facto fregerunt valvas ejus, et convicia horrenda ei inferebant et consiliariis ejus. Una vero plus, altera minus, omnes simul coram rege voces emittebant.
(1) Marcolf retourned and went ayen to the courte and pryvely hyd hym in a corner. (2) And the woman trowyd his wordys to be trewe, ranne trough the citie, and clappyd hire handys togydre, and cryed wyth opyn mowthe and shewyd all that she had herd and more. (3) And eche neyghborwe or gossyp saide it forth to anothre, so that in short tyme there was a great assemble or gaderyng of women, wel nigh that alle the women that weren wythin the citie, (4) and so gadred, went to the kynges palayse well by the nombre of vi thousand women, and brak up dorys and ovyrwent the kyng and his counsell wyth great malyce and lowde crying. (N4); (T4)
[B 15]   (1) Tandem rex, vix imperato silentio, requisivit quenam esset causa tanti tumultus. Ad hoc una que inter omnes constantior et eloquentior ceteris videbatur, dixit ad regem: (2) “Tu rex, cui aurum et argentum et lapides preciosi omnesque divicie terrarum deferuntur, facis omnes voluntates tuas et nullus voluntatibus tuis resistit. (3) Habes reginam et reginas plures, super hoc inducis concubinas innumerabiles quot vis. Es unicuique quantum vis, quia habes omne id quicquid vis. (4) Hec facere omnes non possunt.” (5) Salomon respondit: “Unxit me deus in regem in Israhel, et non potero exequi voluntates meas?” (6) Ad hec mulier inquit: “Satis fac voluntatibus tuis de tuis, de nobis cur faceres? Nos nobiles de genere Abrahe sumus et legem Moysi tenemus. (7) Quare vis immutare legem nostram? Qui debes facere justiciam, cur facis injusticiam?” (8) Ad hoc Salomon furore repletus ait: “Quam exerceo injusticiam, pudibunda mulier?” (9) Mulier ait: “Maxima injusticia est quia vis constituere, quod unusquisque mas septem uxores accipiat. Certe non fiet istud. (10) Non est dux neque comes neque princeps, qui sit tantarum diviciarum seu potentiarum, qui uni soli uxori suas impleat voluntates. (11) Quid faciet, si septem uxores habuerit? Supra vires hominum est istud facere. Melius est enim ut unaqueque habeat septem viros.” (12) Ad hec Salomon rex subridens dixit suis: “Non estimabam numerum hominum posse equari multitudine mulierum.” (13) Tunc omnes mulieres Jherosolimitane una voce clamaverunt: “Vere malus rex es tu et injuste sentencie tue. (14) Nunc vero scimus quia vera sunt que audivimus. Malum tractas de nobis, et derides nos coram nobis. (15) O deus! quam hora mala prius Saul regnavit super nos, quam pejus David, quam pessime iste Salomon regnavit!”
(1) The king, as he this herde, axyd what the cause was of thayre gaderyng. To that, oon woman that wyser and more eloquent than the othre sayde unto the king: (2) “Moost myghty prynce to whom goold, sylver, preciouse stones, and alle rychesse of the world to you are brought, ye do alle thyng as ye woll, and non ayensayth youre pleasure. (3) Ye have a quene and many quenys, and ovyr that ye have concubynes or paramours wythoute nombre or as many as you pleasyth, for ye have all that ye wol. (4) So may not every man do.” (5) Salomon answeryd: “God hath anoynted and made me king in Israhel. May I not than do and accomplyssh all my wylle?” (6) She answeryd: “Do youre wylle wyth youre owne, and medle not wyth us. We are of the noble blood of Abraham and holde Moyses lawe. (7) Wherfor woll ye thane that chaunge and altre? Ye are bownden to do right and justyce. Wherefore do ye unryght?” (8) Tho sayde Salomon wyth great unpacyence: “Thou shamfull wyf, what unright or wronge do Y?” (9) She answeryd: “As great unright do ye as kan be thought or ymagined. For ye have ordeyned that every man shal have nowe lawefully vii wyves, and certaynli that shall not be. (10) For there is not that prynce, duke, or erle that so riche and puyssaunt is, but that oon woman alone shall now fullfylle alle his desyres and wylle. (11) What thanne shulde he do wyth vii wyves? It is aboven any mannys myght or power. It were bettyr ordeyned that oon woman shulde have vii husbondes.” (12) Than sayd Salomon all laughyngly: “I had not trowed that of men had ben fewer in nombre than of women.” (13) Tho kryed alle the women as mad people wythoute any reason: “Ye are an evyle king and youre sentences ben false and unrightfull. (14) Now may we wel here and se that it is trouthe that we have herd of you, and that ye have of us sayde evyll, and therto ye skorne and mocke us before oure vysages that we se it. (15) O Lord God, who was so evyle as Saule that regnyd ovyr us furste? Yet Davyd was worse, and now this Salomon werst of alle!” (T2)
(N7); (T7)
(N10); (T10)
(N13); (T13)
[B 16]   (1) Tunc rex in iram prorumpens dixit: “Non est caput nequius super caput colubri, et non est ira super iram mulieris. Commorari leoni et draconi magis placebit quam habitare cum muliere nequam. (2) Brevis est omnis malicia et minor super maliciam mulieris. (3) Sors peccatorum cadit super eam, sicut ascensus arenosus in pedibus veterum, sicque mulier linguosa mulierisque ira et irreverentia confusio magna est. (4) Mulier si primatum habet, contraria est viro suo. (5) Cor humile, facies tristis et plaga mortis mulier nequam est. (6) Mulier enim initium est peccati et per illam omnes morimur. Dolor cordis et luctus mulier zelotipa. In muliere infideli flagellum lingue omnibus communicans. (7) Fornicatio mulierum in excellentia oculorum et in palpebris illius agnoscetur. Ab omni reverentia oculi ejus sunt, et ne mireris, si te neglexerint.”
(1) Than the king beyng full of wrathe sayde: “There is no hede more worse than the serpent, and there is no malyce to the malyce of a woman, for it were bettyr to dwelle wyth serpentys and lyons, than wyth a wyckyd woman. (2) Alle evylles are but lytyl to the cursydnesse of a shrewd woman. (3) Alle wyckydnesse falle upon women as the sande fallyth in the shoes of the oolde people goyng up an hylle. So a talkatyf woman and dishobedyent is a great confusyon. (4) That wyf that is hir husbondes maister is evyr contrarye to hym. (5) An evyl wyf makyth a pacient herte, and a sory vysage and is as plage of the deth. (6) A woman was the begynnyng of synne, and through hire we dye alle. (7) The woman that is luxuriouse may men knowen in the uppermest of hire yes, and by hir browes. For hire yes are wythoute revyrence and ther nede no man wondre although she forgete hir husbonde.” (N1); (T1)
(N2); (T2)
(N4); (T4)
(N5); (T5)
[B 17]   (1) Talia rege referente Nathan propheta assurgens dixit: “Cur dominus meus rex confundit facies omnium Jherosolomitarum mulierum?” (2) Salomon: “Nonne audisti quanta vituperia sine mea culpa mihi injecerunt?” (3) Continuo Nathan respondit: “Cecus, surdus et mutus ad tempus debet esse, qui in pace cum subjectis esse desiderat.” (4) Salomon respondit: “Respondendum est stulto secundum suam stulticiam.” (5) Tunc saliens Marcolphus de loco suo in quo sedebat dixit ad regem: “Bene loquutus es voluntatem meam, Salomon. Quoniam heri laudasti feminas multum, modo vituperas eas. (6) Hoc ego volebam, semper enim me facis veracem.” (7) Salomon: “Quid est hoc, furcifer? Numquid cognosti tumultum istum?” (8) Marcolphus: “Non ego, sed pusillanimitates earum. Non debes credere quicquid audieris.” (9) Tunc rex ait: “Discede a me, et cave ne amplius videam te in mediis oculis.” (10) Confestim Marcolphus ejectus est de pallacio regis.
(1) As the king al thus had sayd, so spak Nathan the prophete and sayde: “My lord, why rebuke ye and shame ye thus alle thies women of Jherusalem?” (2) Salomon: “Have ye not herd what dishonoure they have sayd of me wythoute deservyng?” (3) Nathan answeryd: “He that woll wyth hys subgiettys lyve in reste and pease, he muste som tyme be blynde, dumme, and deef.” (4) Salomon: “It is to be answeryd to a fole aftyr his folysshnes.” (5) Tho sprange Marcolph out of the corner that he sat in and sayde to the king: “Now have ye spokyn aftyr myn intent. For ones thys daye ye praysed women out of alle mesure, and now have ye dispraysed thaym as moche. (6) That is it that I sought, alwayes ye make my saying trewe.” (7) Salomon: “Thou fowle evyle body, knowyst thou of this commocion?” (8) Marcolph: “Nay. Nevyrthelesse, ye shulde not yeve credence to alle thing that ye here.” (9) Tho sayd the king Salomon: “Go from hens out of my syghte, and I charge thee that I se thee no more betwixt the yes.” (10) Forthwith was Marcolph kast out of the kinges palayse. (N5)
(N9); (T9)
[B 18]   (1) Illi autem, qui regi astabant, dixerunt: “Loquatur dominus noster rex in auribus mulierum istarum ut dimittantur.” (2) Tunc rex conversus dixit mulieribus: “Sciat dulcedo vestra me innocentem esse coram vobis, et sine culpa esse de oppositis. Ille callidus leccator, quem modo vidistis, hec omnia confinxit. (3) Unusquisque vir uxorem suam habeat, et illam cum fide et honestate diligat. (4) Quid vero dixi de muliere, nisi de muliere nequam dixi? De bona muliere quis diceret mala? (5) Pars enim bona mulier bona. (6) Gratia mulieris sedule delectabit suum virum et ossa illius inpinguabit disciplina illius. (7) Datum est dei. Mulier sensata et tacita gratia super omnem gratiam. (8) Mulier pudica sicut sol oriens in altissimis dei. Sic mulieris bone species est ornamentum domus sue. (9) Lucerna splendens super candelabrum et species super etatem stabilem. (10) Columne auree super bases argenteas et pedes firmi super plantas, stabilis mulieris fundamentum eternum super petram solidam, et mandata dei in corde mulieris. (11) Sanctus dominus deus Israhel ipse benedicat vos, et multiplicet semen vestrum in generationibus seculorum.” (12) Cunque respondissent omnes ‘Amen’, adorato rege, recesserunt.
(1) Thanne they that stoden by the king sayden: “My lord, speke to thiese women sumwhat that may please thaym to here to th’entent that they may departe.” (2) Than turnyd the king towardes thaym and sayd: “Youre goodnesse shal undrestande that I am not to be blamyd in that that ye laye to my charge. That evyl sayer, Marcolf, that ye here late sawe, hath out of hymself alle this matier surmysed and fayned. (3) And every man shall have hys owne wyf and hyr, wyth faythe and honestie, love and cherysshe. (4) That I have spokyn ayenst the wyves, I have not sayde it but ayenst the froward wyves. Who shulde of the good wyves speke any evyll? (5) For a good wyf makyth hyr husbande glad and blythe wyth hyre goodnesse. (6) She is a parte the lyvyng of hyre husbond upon erthe, and hyr lernyng advauntagyth or forthryth hys body. (7) She is a yifte of God. A wyse wyf and a stylle is a grace aboven graces. (8) A good, shamefast and an honeste wyf is lyke the sonne clymmyng up to God. A wyf of good condicyons is the ornament or apparayle of the house. (9) She is a lyght shynyng bryghther than the lyght of candellys. (10) She is lyke the goolden pyller standyng upon hir feet, and an ovyrfaste fundament grwnded upon a sure stone wythoute mutacions and the commandemantys of God evyr in hyr mynde. (11) The Hooly God of Israhel blesse you and multiplye youre sede and kynderede unto the ende of the worlde.” (12) Tho sayde they alle ‘Amen’ and toke leve of the king and went theyre weyes. (N5)
(N8); (T8)
[B 19]   (1) Marcolphus vero moleste ferens injuriam sibi de rege factam, et quod jusserat ut eum amplius in mediis oculis non videret, cogitabat quid ageret. (2) Deinde, nocte insequuta, nix multa de celo in terram cecidit. (3) Tunc Marcolphus cepit cribrum unum in manu una, et pedem ursi in manu altera, et calciamenta sua transversa, et quasi bestia quatuor pedibus per plateas urbis cepit ire. (4) Cum autem venisset extra civitatem invenit furnum unum, et intravit in eum. (5) Nocte autem abeunte, dies venit, et familiares regis surgentes tramitem Marcolphi invenerunt, et estimantes esse tramitem alicujus mirabilis bestie, regi nunciaverunt. (6) Tunc rex cum copula canum, et cum venatoribus suis, cepit prosequi vestigia Marcolphi. Cum autem venissent ante furnum et vestigia defecissent, (7) descendunt ad os furni inspicere. (8) Marcolphus vero latebat in facie sua curvatus, et deposuit bracam suam apparebantque ei nates, et culus, et curgulio, et testiculi. (9) Que videns rex ait:“Quis est qui ibi jacet?” (10) “Marcolphus ego sum,” respondit. (11) Salomon: “Quomodo,” inquit, “ita jaces?” (12) Marcolphus: “Tu precepisti mihi, ne amplius me videres in mediis oculis. Nunc autem si non vis me videre in mediis oculis, videas me in medio culi.”
(1) Marcolph, beryng in his mynde of the unkyndnesse that the king had commanded hym that he shulde no more se hym betwixt the yes, thought in hymself what was best to do. (2) It happenyd that the next nyght folowyng fyll a great snowe. (3) Marcolphus toke a lytyll cyve or temse in his oon hande, and a foot of a bere in the othre hande, and he turnyd hys shoes that stode forwardes upon his feet bakward, and upon the mornyng erly he began to go lyke a beste upon alle fowre feet through the strete. (4) And whan he was comen a lytyll wythouthe the towne, he fownde an olde ovyn and crept into it. (5) And as the lyght of the daye was on comen, oon of the kingys servauntys founde the footstappys of Marcolph and thougt that it was the trace or stappys of a merveylous beste, and in alle haste went and shewyd it to the king. (6) Thanne incontynent wyth huntres and howndes, he wente to hunte and seke the sayd wondrefull beeste and folowed it unto they comen before the oven where they had loste and fownde no more of the steppys. (7) The king Salomon discended from hys hors and began to loke into the oven. (8) Marcolphus laye all crokyd, hys vysage from hymwardes, had put downe hys breche into hys hammes that he myght se hys arshole and alle hys othre fowle gere. (9) As the kyng Salomon, that seyng, demawnded what laye there, (10) Marcolph answeryd: “I am here.” (11) Salomon: “Wherefore lyest thou thus?” (12) Marcolf: “For ye have commaunded me that ye shulde no more se me betwyxt myn yes. Now and ye woll not se me betwyxt myn yes, ye may se me betwene my buttockys in the myddes of myn arsehole.” (T1)
(N8); (T8)
[B 20]   (1) Ad hoc rex Salomon confusus ait servis: “Apprehendite et suspendite eum in ligno.” (2) Apprehensus autem Marcolphus dixit ad regem: “Domine mi rex, tantummodo mihi impendere potes, ut in illo ligno quod elegero, suspendar.” (3) Salomon rex ait: “Fiat quod petisti, mihi enim pro minimo est in quo suspendaris ligno.” (4) Tunc ministri regis Marcolphum capientes, duxerunt extra civitatem et pertranseuntes vallem Josaphat, et clivum Montis Oliveti pervenerunt usque Jhericho, et nullam arborem invenire potuerunt, quam Marcolphus suo suspendio eligeret. (5) Inde transeuntes Jordanem, et peragentes omnem Arabiam, et iterum nullam arborem Marcolphus elegit. Inde circumeuntes saltum Carmeli, et cedros Libani, et solitudinem campestrium circa Mare Rubrum, (6) et nunquam Marcolphus aliquam arborem elegit. (7) Et sic evasit manus regis Salomonis. Post hoc domum remeans quievit in pace.
Finitum est hoc opusculum Antwerpie
per me Gerardum Leeu

(1) Than was the king sore meovyd, commaunded his servauntys to take hym and hange hym upon a tre. (2) Marcolph, so takyn, sayde to the kyng: “My lord, will it please you to yeve me leve to chose the tre wherupon that I shalle hange?” (3) Salomon sayde: “Be it as thou haste desyred, for it forcyth not on what tre that thou be hangyd.” (4) Than the kinges servauntes token and leddyn Marcolph wythoute the citie, and through the Valé of Josaphath, and ovyr the hyghte of the hylle of Olyvete, from thens to Jericho and cowde fynde no tre that Marcolf wolde chese to be hanged on. (5) From thens went they ovyr the Flome Jordane and alle Arabye through, and so forth all the great wyldernesse unto the Rede See. (6) And nevyrmore cowde Marcolph fynde a tre that he wolde chese to hange on. (7) And thus he askapyd out of the dawnger and handes of King Salomon, and turnyd ayen unto hys howse, and levyd in pease and joye. (8) And so mote we alle do aboven wyth the Fadre of Heven. Amen.
Emprentyd at Andewerpe by me M. Gerard Leeu.
(N2); (T2)

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